update deskWorld News

Event hails 60th year of Czech Torah scrolls saved after the Holocaust

Lois Roman, a trustee for the Memorial Scrolls Trust, told JNS: “Our goal was to remind people of what binds us together rather than what tears us apart.”

An event at Temple Emanu-El Streicker Center in Midtown Manhattan celebrated the 60th anniversary of 60 Czech Torah scrolls recovered from the Holocaust, April 7, 2024. Credit: Courtesy.
An event at Temple Emanu-El Streicker Center in Midtown Manhattan celebrated the 60th anniversary of 60 Czech Torah scrolls recovered from the Holocaust, April 7, 2024. Credit: Courtesy.

Some 550 people participated in an event at Temple Emanu-El Streicker Center in Midtown Manhattan on Sunday, featuring a procession of 60 Torah scrolls stolen by the Nazis during World War II but eventually recovered.

Some of the holy texts were stained by blood, pierced by bullets or burnt by fire. One bears a scribbled note asking, “Please remember us.”

The service, which fell on April 7—exactly six months after the Hamas terrorist attacks in southern Israel on Oct. 7 that claimed 1,200 Jewish lives, the most lost in a single day since the Holocaust—was meant to “celebrate the 60th anniversary of Czech Torahs that had survived the Shoah and were being warehoused in an abandoned synagogue in Prague,” Lois Roman, a trustee for the Memorial Scrolls Trust who organized the event, told JNS.

She said they arrived in London from Communist Czech lands in 1964.

Holocaust Torah Scrolls Commemorative Event
An event at Temple Emanu-El Streicker Center in Midtown Manhattan celebrated the 60th anniversary of 60 Czech Torah scrolls recovered from the Holocaust, April 7, 2024. Photo by George Klas.

“Our goal was to remind people of what binds us together rather than what tears us apart,” Roman said.

She went on to explain that “the Torah scroll is the most revered item in Judaism. Whether we define [ourselves] as Reform, Conservative, Orthodox or any other style of Jewish—and live in New York or Palm Beach, Paris, Poland or Santiago—we all read the same words from these scrolls. It is the glue that binds us together. It is the ultimate storybook filled with tales of people who lived thousands of years ago.”

Roman also pointed to a duty “to remember the Czech Jews murdered in the Shoah and to commemorate the amazing collection of Judaica that survived.”

Rabbi Amy Ehrlich of Temple Emanu-El said at the service that “even as the world changes around us and we are painfully aware of the sudden surge in antisemitism, we stand taller as Jews, we identify more proudly, and we hold the Torah closer.”

You have read 3 articles this month.
Register to receive full access to JNS.

Just before you scroll on...

Israel is at war.

JNS is combating the stream of misinformation on Israel with real, honest and factual reporting. In order to deliver this in-depth, unbiased coverage of Israel and the Jewish world, we rely on readers like you.

The support you provide allows our journalists to deliver the truth, free from bias and hidden agendas. Can we count on your support?

Every contribution, big or small, helps JNS.org remain a trusted source of news you can rely on.

Become a part of our mission by donating today
Topics
Comments
Thank you. You are a loyal JNS Reader.
You have read more than 10 articles this month.
Please register for full access to continue reading and post comments.
Never miss a thing
Get the best stories faster with JNS breaking news updates