Techie Chabad Rabbi Wants to Take a Jewish Tradition Digital with NFTs

Chabad rabbi Mordechai Lightstone is taking the concept of ‘owning a letter in a Torah scroll’ digital.
Image source: NFTorah

Quick take:

  • Mordechai Lightstone’s NFTorah project is focusing on creating NFTs tied to a single letter in the Torah scroll.
  • His target buyers are younger consumers who are interested in the technology behind NFTs.
  • NFTorah has previously launched NFT art that represents various narratives of the Torah.

Brooklyn-based Chabad rabbi Morderchai Lightstone is expanding on his NFTorah project to create NFTs tied to a single letter in the Torah scroll. 

Typically, Jewish individuals “buy” letters, words, verses and chapters to cover the cost of writing the scroll, but Lightstone’s NFTorah is focusing on a second NFT project – which doesn’t have a name yet – to take this concept digital in a new way. It is also funding the creation of physical Torah scrolls by selling NFTs.

“We’re just using the current technology to bring awareness to it, to show uniqueness. There’s a message here, right? Every letter in the Torah is unique – even one alef is different from another alef. It’s just like the idea of crypto. It creates uniqueness in the digital space. Every mitzvah is unique, every soul is unique and it drives that message home,” Lightstone told Jerusalem Post.

Lightstone, who is also the founder of Tech Tribe – a community of young Jewish in tech and digital media based in Brooklyn, New York – launched the NFTorah project in March 2021 on OpenSea. He worked on the project with fellow tech-savvy rabbi, Jerusalem-based Jonathan Caras. Caras’s brother, Michael Caras, is known as the “Bitcoin Rabbi.”

The project’s first collection features NFT art depicting various narratives of the Torah. Each NFT is priced at 1 ETH, and one NFT has been sold so far. This could be attributed to the fact that a large part of the Orthodox Jewish community doesn’t use technology, and is not informed about the world of NFTs.

However, Lightstone’s target audience isn’t the NFT sceptics. He is targeting the younger, tech-savvy Jews who are interested in the NFT space and the technology behind it, even if they may not fully understand it.

As stated on the NFTorah website, “All collected funds will be used for the writing of a physical, professionally scribed, kosher Torah Scroll. By purchasing a Parsha NFT, you are donating to help write a Sefer Torah while using the blockchain to receive digital proof of your stake in its creation.”

NFTorah hopes to “write 18 Torah scrolls for Jewish communities around the world.” It will be giving its first Torah scroll to the Arugot Farm, located in the heart of the Judean Desert. The second scroll will travel with the Tech Tribe.

Further details about NFTorah’s second project are not yet known at this moment.

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