The Torah, the first five books of the Old Testament, is the oldest and most sacred text for the Jews. It is traditionally believed that God gave it to Moses on Mount Sinai. Current studies maintain that the Torah was written by different authors over several centuries, probably from the 9th century BC. by C. Receiving the Torah. A prayer book. Northern Italy, c. 1450. (BNI) Receiving the Torah. A prayer book. Northern Italy, c. 1450. (BNI) THE READING OF THE TORAH Torah reading begins with the first chapter of Genesis, on the first Saturday after the main holidays of the Jewish New Year, and is read for an entire year. Every synagogue has at least one Torah scroll, which is kept in a sacred cupboard called an ark. The ark is covered with an embroidered curtain called a parachute or protected with doors.