Tradition and the modern world
“Wherever you go, I will go; wherever you lodge, I will lodge; your people shall be my people, and your God my God.” — Ruth 1:16This scroll, a copy of the Book of Ruth, was handwritten on calfskin parchment by a specially trained scribe using a quill and ink. The date and place of its creation cannot be determined easily because scrolls like this have been made in exactly the same way for over 1000 years. Waterville’s Beth Israel synagogue probably acquired this scroll in the first half of the 20th century. Today, few synagogues chant the Book of Ruth, a traditional feature of the Shavuot (Pentecost) holiday. Fewer still have scrolls like this from which to read Ruth. Rockland’s Adas Yoshuron synagogue, which does possess a scroll, instead uses copies of this book, an artistic printing of Ruth. The illustrator, Leonard Baskin, summered regularly in the Midcoast region.
Scroll of the Book of Ruth: courtesy of Beth Israel Congregation
The Five Scrolls (1984), illustrated by Leonard Baskin: courtesy of George J. Mitchell Department of Special Collections at Bowdoin College