Pre-World War II Torah Scroll

We are honored guardians of a rare, pre-World War II Czechoslovakian Torah Scroll, which rests in a glass cabinet in our Temple foyer.

A Brief History

It is one of 1500 scrolls which are some of the only surviving remains of 153 Czech Jewish communities. In 1964 Westminster Synagogue in London, England acquired the scrolls from the Communist government of Czechoslovakia.  The Memorial Scroll Trust was formed and has given these precious relics a second life by lovingly restoring them (when possible) and loaning them to over 1400 communities around the world, thereby spreading their message to new generations. 

The scrolls are a reminder of the atrocities committed against our brothers and sisters in Europe and help us support our mission. We must Remember the Czech communities before the Holocaust; Challenge each other to confront prejudice and hatred; and Be Inspired to action by building bridges across communities. Our scroll is a living messenger especially as those who directly witnessed the atrocities are no longer with us.  The scrolls help us to Never Forget.

The Memorial Scroll Trust
Formed in 1964, the MST has given these precious relics a second life by lovingly restoring them (where possible) and loaning them to synagogues around the world. Sharing these rare artifacts with the world is helping to spread their message to new generations – serving as a reminder of us of the atrocities committed against Jews in Europe, and also as a challenge to all, to always confront prejudice & hatred. Learn more about the Memorial Scrolls Trust on their website: memorialscrollstrust.org

Rabbi Jeremy Schwartz and Ritual Committee Leader Judith Stein at the Temple’s Yom Hashoah service on Sunday, April 27, 2014.  The Czech Scroll is an important part of, and a clear choice to use for the service.
Rabbi Jeremy Schwartz and Ritual Committee Leader Judith Stein at the Temple’s Yom Hashoah service on Sunday, April 27, 2014. The Czech Scroll is an important part of, and a clear choice to use for the service.

About Our Torah Scroll Cover & Case

Our scroll cover (Torah Mantle) was designed and created by Anya Sokolovskaya, a Jewish immigrant from the former Soviet Union who lives in Storrs. The Mantle, and the Torah it covers, are in memory of the six million Jews, known and unknown, who lost their lives during the Holocaust. The yellow color of the Mantel is intentional – we reclaim this color of life as our own, not as one foisted upon us and denigrated by the Nazis. The design of the Mantel is similar to a Talit, symbolizing our continued commitment to Jewish ritual and prayer. The words we chose for the Mantle, “You should teach them to your children and speak of them”, remind us of the Jewish commitment to teach and to remember.

The hardwood display case that houses our scroll was donated in loving memory of Abraham Piotrkowski by Joe & Gail Petrowsky and family, and crafted in 2003 by Temple member Jim Baber.

Funded by the Temple Bnai Israel Hochberg Committee on the Holocaust & Human Rights