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Holocaust Torah Restoration

 

Congregation Beth Shalom was granted a rare and precious opportunity to restore one of the few European Torah scrolls that has managed to survive the ravages of the Holocaust. This scroll (number MST#1375 from Praha-Malvazinky) was rescued from the hands of the Nazis who sought not only to destroy the physical Torah itself, but everything it stood for as well. This scroll was allocated to Beth Shalom on permanent loan by the Memorial Scrolls Trust.(www.memorialscrolltrust.org).   Click Here for the Brochure with all details of this project.

 

RESTORING THE PAST

Only 1,500 scrolls had been gathered together in Prague from the decimated synagogues of Bohemia and Moravia. The Nazis were to have displayed these scrolls in a museum to showcase to the world the remnants of Judaism and Jewish culture which they had planned to wipe from existence.

 “When I look at this old Torah scroll, I do not simply see the tragically successful attempt to eradicate Jewish life in the community from which it came. I also see all the simchas that were once celebrated around this Torah, the holiday services, the b'nai mitzvah, the aufrufs and the baby namings. By restoring this Torah scroll, we are not just preserving a relic of the shoah, but we are ensuring that the beautiful heritage of the Jewish community who loved and honored this scroll will never be forgotten, and that Jews right here in Atlanta, Georgia will keep the flame of their memory alive for future generations.” Rabbi Mark Zimmerman

 

ENHANCING THE PRESENT

This Torah has found permanent shelter at Beth Shalom and has been treated with the reverence and respect it deserves. However, as caretakers of this special Torah scroll, it is our obligation not to let it remain as a mere artifact on display, but to make it a living part of a community once again. When properly restored, this historically unique Torah will become a treasured addition to those sacred scrolls currently in our ark at Congregation Beth Shalom.

It is considered a great and an essential religious obligation for every Jew to participate in the writing of a Torah scroll sometime during the course of their life. Dedicating a passage in Beth Shalom’s soon-to-be-restored Holocaust Torah scroll gives everyone the opportunity to fulfill this important mitzvah and to proudly proclaim, “Am Yisrael Chai!” The Jewish people live on despite the attempts to eradicate us.

 

ENSURING THE FUTURE

This Torah scroll is written in a most unusual Kabbalistic tradition with stylized letters that are rarely seen in any sefer Torah today. In other Torah scrolls written in a similar tradition there might be a few such letters, whereas in this scroll there are literally hundreds of these extraordinary. Each embellished letter carries a special symbolism unknown to all but a very few people today. And so this Torah scroll also represents a lost scribal tradition that we will have the opportunity to preserve.

“The Torah – the holiest, most meaningful and Divine object known to mankind; it is the soul of the Jewish people. Torah scrolls are precious, delicate and the center of our Jewish identity.” Rabbi Menachem Bialo, Sofer

 

 

 

 

Thu, June 4 2020 12 Sivan 5780