TI’s Holocaust Memorial Scroll Restoration Project
Temple Israel has begun an extraordinary physical and spiritual journey to restore the 200 year-old Czechoslovakian Torah scroll saved from the Nazis and entrusted to our congregation in 1980. While our memorial scroll was saved in the Shoah, it is no longer kosher for ritual use. It is damaged with holes in the parchment, seams that need resewing and letters which require repair.
After almost 75 years since the end of World War II and almost 30 years in our tender care, it is time to bring this Torah back to life and an active part of our synagogue. It is our duty to do more than simply memorialize and remember through a glass window.
“A Torah scroll is more than a document and a book. It embodies the idea that we simple human beings have access to God’s will in this world. The scroll is a kind of bridge between the world of God’s perfect mind - having no physical form - and the very material world in which we live. Torah becomes embodied as the scribe crushes galls to make ink, takes up a feather quill pen and animal skin parchment. This very earthy beginning is the starting point for every Torah scroll,” commented Rabbi Fish.
The scroll will be used in our services and for educational purposes, serving as both a poignant remembrance of the Holocaust and as an inspiration for our children and future generations. We invite you to be a part of this amazing endeavour.
We have a vast array of programs and opportunities for you to be a part of this journey with us, culminating in a rededication ceremony on the Shabbat Weekend of May 17-19, 2019.
DONATE for a MITZVAH: Scribing Sessions: January 27, March 3, and March 31. Families which contribute a minimum donation of $360 will have the opportunity to sign up for a scribing session, placing their hands upon Rabbi Hale's shoulder/arm as together, after almost 75 years, we make this Torah kosher once more (sign up using the form to your right).
VISIT OUR GALLERY: January 27, March 3 and March 31 - Stop in to visit our gallery in Founder’s Hall with stories and pictures of the Jewish community of Prestice, Czechoslovakia, from where our scroll originates, along with a display and videos of our own community's stories.
WITNESS: March 10 - A viewing of the movie Etched in Glass: The Legacy of Steven Ross. This remarkable film traces the story of Steven Ross, who survived 10 Concentration Camps and founded the New England Holocaust Memorial. Q&A with his son Michael Ross to follow. Get your tickets here
READ: March 14 - Join the TI Reads Book Club as together we read The Last Palace by Norman Eisen. Sign up on the Adult-Ed page.
CELEBRATE: Shabbat, May 17-19: Torah Scroll Rededication Weekend more info to come
Our Religious school children have already met with Rabbi Hale, the sofer (scribe) repairing the Torah scroll, learning the art of writing a Torah scroll. Volunteer professional journalists have also begun to interview Temple Israel members who wish to share their families’ Holocaust experiences. Rabbi Sofer Kevin Hale visited with Brotherhood’s Routes program as well.
“We must continue to see the Torah as a bridge that connects our living community, and those which came before. And now all of us are invited to partner in building that bridge, and in making this Torah scroll ‘fit’, kosher once more. It will stand at the center of our Jewish lives, and the words of Torah will be read from this scroll again,” said Rabbi Fish.
We need your help to make this Torah whole again and an active part of Temple Israel!
Families which contribute a minimum donation of $360 will have the opportunity to sign up for a scribing session, placing their hands upon Rabbi Hale's shoulder/arm as together, after almost 75 years, we make this Torah kosher once more.
Please consider joining us in this journey in one way or another. There are many opportunities to get involved!
To find out how you can support this project financially or as a volunteer, please contact Art Newman or Carol Wolk Rose. If you are child (2G) or grandchild (3G) of a survivor and interested in sharing your story, please contact Leah Bieler.
To allow us to continue to run meaningful Holocaust remembrance programming, we would appreciate your considering a major gift (above the cost of a scrolling session). For further information, please contact Neil Aronson.
Further Reading: To learn more about Temple Israel's many Holocaust Remembrance Programs, the remarkable story of how our scroll was obtained, and the Shoah-era communities from which our members came,click here.