FAQ About the Sefer Haftarah

Frequently Asked Questions….

What is the Sefer Haftarah?

The FJMC’s Sefer Haftarah is a collection of every Haftarah read during the year, including those from holidays and Rosh Chodesh. The Haftarot are scripted by a sofer on a parchment scroll in the same manner as a Torah. In fact, when rolled up and covered by its mantle, the Haftarah scroll looks exactly like a Torah scroll but not as thick. But unlike a Torah, the Haftorah scroll contains vowels and the trop. In addition, there are dedications of the various Haftarot in English and Hebrew.

Where is the Sefer Haftarah used?

It is read from at the FJMC’s international convention and at its Leadership Development Institute. The rest of the year it travels from region to region and is featured in Shabbat and holiday services of congregations just like yours.

How is it used?

At services, it is treated very much like a Torah. It is housed in the Ark, undressed and redressed like a Torah, and carried around the congregation in the Torah procession. The Sefer Haftorah scroll usually arrives at a synagogue by overnight carrier on Wednesday and is often shown to students in the Religious School, although some congregations have been quite inventive in their uses for it. On Monday morning it is picked up to be sent to the next stop in its journey.

How can we get the FJMC’s Sefer Haftarah scroll at our synagogue?

First contact your regional president to see when it will next be in your region and whether there is a week that you could have it. The Haftarah scroll is booked into the various regions for a period of weeks for the next year, although it might not yet be assigned to individual synagogues. If no slot is immediately available, you should contact the FJMC’s Sefer Haftarah chairman, Larry Nathanson at . Give him some possible dates, including a few that are more than a year off, and he will try to arrange for you to get the Sefer Haftarah. He will want to know the address of your synagogue and a contact person to receive the scroll and put it in a secure place.

How can we dedicate one of the Haftarot in the FJMC Haftarah scroll?

Most have already been dedicated, but there are a few that have not. The dedication can be by a Men’s Club, a congregation, or even an individual or family, and the inscription can be in English, Hebrew, or both. The cost of a dedication is $1,000, and you should contact the FJMC’s office, at international@fjmc.org. for further information.

FJMC Sefer Haftarah World Tour 2024/2025 Update (as of June 2024)

The FJMC Sefer Haftarah 2024 / 2025 World Tour began in the Midwest Region of FJMC where the scroll was front and center at the 2024 FJMC Shabbaton in Chicago. From there, the Sefer Haftarah scroll traveled to the FJMC New England Region “The Retreat” in Palmer, Massachusetts, an annual gathering of Men’s Clubs and Brotherhoods from Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and Vermont.

During Summer 2024, the Sefer Haftarah scroll will be making stops at Men’s Clubs and Brotherhoods across FJMC New England Region, including (June 13) Temple Israel in Sharon, MA, (June 22) B’nai Tikvah in Canton, MA, (June 29) Temple Aliyah in Needham, MA, (July 13) Temple Emanuel in Newton, MA, (July 27) Temple Israel of Natick in (where else) Natick, MA, (August 10) Congregation Beth Israel in Worcester, MA, (August 17) Temple Beth Sholom, Framingham, MA, and (August 24) Minyan Darchei Shalom in Newton, MA.

As per New England Region Sefer Haftarah chair Ken Turkewitz; “there are still several available dates unscheduled and available, including the weeks that include Shabbat June 15, July 6 and 20, August 3 and 31. If you’re interested in having the scroll read from at your FJMC New England Region synagogue on any of those available dates, please have your club president or rabbi or representative contact Ken Turkewitz at .”

During September and October 2024, the Sefer Haftarah scroll is scheduled to visit in the FJMC Connecticut Valley Region. During November and December 2024, the Sefer Haftarah scroll will be in the FJMC New York Metro Region, visiting clubs in Manhattan, Queens, Brooklyn & Long Island. Be on the lookout for the Sefer Haftarah scroll at the next meeting of the FJMC Foundation for Jewish Life Rabbi Joel S. Geffen 5785 Leadership Development Institute (LDI), to be held at the Pearlstone Center in Reistertown, MD from Thursday January 30, 2025 to Sunday February 2, 2025.

Looking ahead, the FJMC Sefer Haftarah will tentatively be available to Men’s Clubs and Brotherhoods in the FJMC Florida Region (January through March 2025) and at the FJMC Anshei Darom Region 2025 Retreat, an annual gathering of club leaders from Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee and Texas. From there, the Sefer Haftarah scroll will travel to clubs in the FJMC KIO Region (serving Kentucky, Indiana, Ohio and Michigan) in advance of the 2025 FJMC International Convention in Chicago.

For more information about the FJMC Sefer Haftarah, please visit https://fjmc.org/for-clubs/sefer-haftarah/ or email FJMC International Sefer Haftarah Program Chair Lawrence Nathanson at .