A synagogue in Boca Raton, Fla., has set the (first) world record for the largest prayer shawl.
The Guinness Book of World Records certified a special tallit made for the Boca Raton Synagogue, a modern Orthodox congregation, for its yearly Simchat Torah service. The new category was certified earlier this month, the Florida Sun Sentinel reported.
On Simchat Torah, it is customary for children younger than bar and bat mitzvah age to gather under a tallit to receive an aliyah to the Torah and the Kol Hanearim blessing. The congregation, which according to the newspaper has nearly 1,000 children, decided it would create a special large prayer shawl for the occasion rather than have the tallitot of many men held up together.
The congregation first used the prayer shawl, the size of 40 regular tallitot, at its Simchat Torah celebration in 2013. It covers the entire sanctuary and is held up by wooden poles, according to the newspaper.
Last October, the congregation applied to Guinness to register the record, but no category existed for largest prayer shawl. So Guinness added the category, saying that a tallit should be at least 10 times the size of a regular one in order to qualify.