Strange Brouhaha

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

An Interesting Problem

I saw an article, via Slashdot, from Wired about protecting Torahs from theft. As you'll see if you read the article, it's an inherently difficult thing. You can't stick a label on it, you can't write your name on it. You can't barcode it.

Of the two systems discussed in the article, I think the JCRC's Universal Torah Registry is the superior. (I bet it's the article's author's favorite as well, because he got to use the phrase "Torah chop shop." Can you imagine what a Torah chop shop would look like?) The Machon Ot system is just too cumbersome. I think it's a good idea to keep the identification as close to the scroll itself as possible, which the Universal Torah Registry does, obviously. The Machon Ot system relies on qualities inherent in the scroll itself, which means that you can't easily determine if it's a registered scroll--with the perforations in a UTR-protected scroll, you can tell in a few minutes.

I recommend reading the article, even if you have no interest in any of the topics it discusses. It's neat.


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