The Ten Commandments parchment of the Dead Sea Scrolls is on display in New York City's Times Square for 10 days for the first time ever. It is only the third time that Israel has allowed the scrolls to leave the country.

The leather parchment will return to Israel after the "Dead Sea Scrolls: Life and Faith in Biblical Times" display at Discovery Times Square, which began last Thursday. Most of the exhibition continues until March, but the parchment of the Ten Commandments will make its way back to Israel January 2.

The now-famous parchments were discovered in caves near the Dead Sea in 1952 and are part of a collection of 900 manuscripts found more than 50 years ago by Bedouin shepherds.

They date back 2,000 years and are kept in special climatic conditions to prevent any deterioration.

"The Ten Commandments scroll is actually in very good condition considering it is 2,000 years old," exhibit curator Risa Levitt Kohn told the Associated Press.  

Anyone who can read modern Hebrew could understand the text, which is fragile and brittle, the curator added.

It contains the Ten Commandments, as written in the fifth book of the Torah, known as Deuteronomy, a Greek translation of the Hebrew word Devarim, which literally means “words.”

The scroll, measuring 18 inches by three inches, consists of four complete columns and two others that are damaged.

The parchment previously has been on display outside of Israel in Australia and Toronto.

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