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Guided tour
A tour of the "Oter Israel" physical plant offers a glimpse of an enterprise that employs the latest production and management techniques in its holy labors. The plant, situated in the Givat Shaul neighborhood in Jerusalem, contains departments that engage in the following activities:
The STAM writing of Torah scrolls, Tefillin, Mezuzot, and Megillot, The production of batim for Tefillin and Tefillin accessories and Quality assurance and inspection.

The founder and director of "Oter Israel", Rabbi Yisrael Klein, has invested much effort and years of research into every aspect of the writing and production of Torah scrolls, Tefillin, Mezuzot, and Megillot. During the course of Rabbi Klein`s research, he rediscovered a technique for making Tefillin from ox-skin. This method was first developed by Rabbi Natanel Sofer, a legendary Jerusalem sage and scribe who lived 120 years ago.
The preferred mode of observing the commandment of Tefillin is with Tefillin made from ox-skin that are produced in accordance with all possible halakhic stringencies. 
 
 The Writing of Torah Scrolls, Tefillin, Mezuzot, and Megillot
The Writing of Torah Scrolls, Tefillin, Mezuzot, and Megillot The Writing of Torah Scrolls, Tefillin, Mezuzot, and Megillot "Oter Israel" employs about thirty scribes who have been chosen for their expertise and for their dedication to Torah. They are ordained to engage in the writing of all types of Torah scrolls, Tefillin, Mezuzot, and Megillot. Some are employed on a full-time basis, and others part-time, but all are individuals who devote all their time to Torah. All of the materials and tools used in the writing of these holy objects, including the parchment, the quills, and the ink, are of the highest quality. Only shelil parchment is used by "Oter Israel" in the production of Torah Scrolls, Tefillin, Mezuzot, and Megillot.
 The Tanning of the Leather
The process of the tanning of the leather includes several stages. All of the stages of the tanning of the leather and the production of Torah Scrolls, Tefillin, Mezuzot, and Megillot must be performed with the proper intent, that this be "for the sake of the sanctity of Tefillin."
  • After the slaughtering of the animal, its hide is salted to preserve it.
  • The hide is then soaked in water, to extract the salt.
  • The hairs are removed from the hide, by soaking it for an hour in a sulfur solution.
  • After the hairs have been removed, the hide is soaked in a saturated solution of water and lime for ten days. The lime enters the pores in the hide and dries it, so that it will not rot and spoil. The lime also thickens the leather, softens it, and gives it added strength.

 The production of the batim of the Tefillin
The production of the batim of the Tefillin The production of the batim of the Tefillin

After the leather has been soaked in the lime solution, the leather is scraped to the desired thickness. The leather is then cut into T-shaped pieces of different sizes, in accordance with the orders received by "Oter Israel" and in accordance with the final size of the Tefillin. The sizes of the Tefillin produced by "Oter Israel" range from the largest, that are used by Chabad (Lubavitch) Chasidim, to the very small Tefillin that are one of "Oter Israel`s" specialties.


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 The formation of the shin in the bayit of the head Tefillin
The formation of the shin in the bayit of the head Tefillin The formation of the shin in the bayit of the head Tefillin Jewish law requires that the two shin`s in the sides of the bayit of the head Tefillin be embossed in the leather of the bayit itself. This is performed as follows:
  1. The two sides of the ketzizah are moistened with a wet sponge for two hours.
  2.  After the leather becomes pliable, pressure is applied with the press and a metal plate in the form of an inverted shin to the exact position where the letter shin is to protrude from the finished head Tefillin.
    This phase of the production process generates a halakhic problem known as "chok tokhot" (referring to the inner part [tokh] of the shin), since the shin was
    formed by pressure on the vicinity of the shin.

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 The coloring of the batim black
The coloring of the batim black The coloring of the batim black

Coloring the batim black is a lengthy process, the quality of which greatly influences the quality of the Tefillin. The color must be slowly absorbed by the leather. To achieve this end, the leather is dyed and polished at least four times. Each time four coats of dye are applied, so that the color will be well absorbed by the leather. This repeated action is in accordance with the halakhic requirement of "hazuta be-alma" (solely in appearance), that is, that the dye cannot be an external layer, but must be fully absorbed by the leather and become an integral part of the bayit, thereby giving the appearance of blackness. Spray-painting the batim is therefore totally forbidden, because the sprayed layer of paint is liable to peel off.
The process of coloring takes about three weeks.


 The placing of the Torah passages within the batim
The placing of the Torah passages within the batim The placing of the Torah passages within the batim a. Each passage of the hand Tefillin and of the head Tefillin is wrapped in parchment and is bound with a lock of hair from the tail of a calf.
b. The passages are inserted in the batim.
c. Extra care is taken with the head Tefillin to ensure that several of the hairs used to bind the passage of "If, then, you obey" will protrude beyond the titora.
d. Finally, the batim are stiched up with cow gut, making sure that hairs from a calf tail protrude into the stitching of the head Tefillin.
 The tying of the straps
The tying of the straps The tying of the straps

After the straps are colored, the knot of the straps is tied, in accordance with the various customs, and the high quality Tefillin of "Oter Israel" are ready. The entire process of their production has taken an entire year or more.


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Oter Israel Address: Kanfey Nesharim 31, Jerusalem ISRAEL Tel: +972 2 6535514 Fax: +972 2 6535725
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