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Skidmore College
Jacob Perlow Series


inscribing the sacred: creating torah and art

A series of events featuring Rabbi Linda Motzkin

February 26 – March 1, 2024

Admission is free and open to the public
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Series Schedule for Inscribing the Sacred: Creating Torah and Art


Linda Motzkin-writing up close

Perlow Lecture: “Women and the Making of Torah”

Monday, February 26 at 5:30 PM

Tang Teaching Museum, Payne Room

A Perlow lecture by soferet (Hebrew scribe) and artist Rabbi Linda Motzkin on women’s involvement in the Jewish scribal tradition and the process of Torah production. Refreshments will be provided.


Motzkin Image 2-lybrinth on hideArtist’s Talk: “Art and the Sacred”

Wednesday, February 28 at 5:30 PM

Tang Teaching Museum, Payne Room

Artist and Rabbi Linda Motzkin will discuss how she repurposes pieces of her handmade deerskin parchment that are unsuitable for Torah production to create Hebrew calligraphic artwork drawn from Jewish sacred texts, and the specific process of making the works on display. Refreshments will be provided.


Linda Motzkin-hidework2

Community Torah Project: Making Parchment from a Local Deerskin 

Friday, March 1 from 1 PM to 3 PM

Tang Teaching Museum, Payne Room

A hands-on educational workshop in which students, faculty, staff, and the public are invited to take part in the Community Torah Project. Participants will help with the stretching and scraping of a local deerskin. This immersive educational activity will engage the Skidmore community and public in the sacred production of parchment, which will ultimately be used in the creation of a Torah scroll. Refreshments will be provided. No advance registration is needed.


Linda Motzkin writing at deskAbout Rabbi Linda Motzkin

Rabbi Linda Motzkin is one of a handful of women in the world trained as a Hebrew scribe, a role traditionally reserved for men. Through her Community Torah Project, Rabbi Motzkin has opened up the sacred process of creating a Torah scroll to thousands of people nationally and internationally. Her hands-on educational workshops enable participants to engage in various steps in the making of a Torah scroll, from processing deerskins into parchment panels to stitching completed panels together. Rabbi Motzkin is also an accomplished artist, utilizing her knowledge of Hebrew sacred literature to create unique calligraphic artwork from pieces of her handmade deerskin parchment which are unsuitable for a Torah scroll. Rabbi Motzkin served for almost three decades as Jewish Chaplain at Skidmore College, and retired last year from her position of co-rabbi at Temple Sinai in Saratoga Springs after 36 years of job-sharing with her husband Rabbi Jonathan Rubenstein.

Sponsored by the Jacob Perlow Lecture Series, Office of Special Programs, Religious Studies Department, and Tang Teaching Museum with additional support by the Office of Religious and Spiritual Life, American Studies Department, History Department, and John B. Moore Documentary Studies Collaborative. Funding is provided by endowments established by Jacob Perlow and by Beatrice Troupin.


This Is Your Song Too: Phish and Contemporary Jewish Identity

This is your song book image


Tuesday, March 26 @ 7:30 PM

Emerson Auditorium, Palamountain Hall

Admission is free and open to the public

Join Skidmore alums Oren Kroll-Zeldin (Class of 2003, Religious Studies) and Ariella Werden-Greenfield (Class of 2004, Religious Studies) to celebrate the release of This is Your Song Too (Pennsylvania State University Press, 2023), a collection of essays exploring Jewish identity through the band Phish and their diehard fans. As this book shows, Phish is one avenue through which many Jews find cultural and spiritual fulfillment outside the confines of traditional and institutional Jewish life. In effect, Phish fandom and the live Phish experience act as a microcosm through which we see American Jewish religious and cultural life manifest in unique and unexpected spaces.


Oren Kroll-ZeldinOren Kroll-Zeldin is the assistant director of the Swig Program in Jewish Studies and Social Justice at the University of San Francisco where he is also an assistant professor in the Department of Theology and Religious Studies. He is the author of Unsettled: American Jews and the Movement for Justice in Palestine and the co-editor, with Ariella Werden-Greenfield, of This Is Your Song Too: Phish and Contemporary Jewish Identity.



Ariella Werden-GreenfiledAriella Werden-Greenfield is the associate director of the Feinstein Center for American Jewish History at Temple University. She also serves as Temple University’s special advisor on antisemitism and chairs the university’s Interfaith Council. Ariella is co-editor, with Oren Kroll-Zeldin, of This Is Your Song Too: Phish and Contemporary Jewish Identity.



Sponsored by the Office of Special Programs, the Religious Studies Department, and the Music Department.  Funding is provided by endowments established by Jacob Perlow and by Beatrice Troupin.

About the Jacob Perlow Series: A generous grant from the estate of Jacob Perlow - an immigrant to the United States in the 1920s, a successful business man deeply interested in religion and philosophy, and a man who was committed to furthering Jewish education - supports annual lectures and presentations to the College and Capital District community on issues broadly related to Jews and Judaism. Additional funding was provided by a bequest from Mrs. Beatrice Perlman Troupin.