Stories that connect us- from Bohemia and Moravia to Zoom, and back to 1255 CE
MST Newsletter Spring 2020
Friends, welcome to the 11th issue of our Newsletter.
I hope you, your families and communities are all keeping safe and well during these unprecedented and troubling tims.
We are delighted to launch a new service to Scroll Holder communities, a short live presentation by an MST Volunteer to your community, using an online video meeting system. The first Conversations have already taken place. Lois Roman has given Zoom talks to Cheders in USA. Jeffrey Ohrenstein has given presentations to a Jewish Community in Prague, Czechia. We think that this is an exciting way of getting Scroll Holder communities more involved with their Czech scrolls. See the invitation from Lois below.
Virtual Visits to the Czech Torah Museum
New Scroll Holder Communities
We have made new Scroll loans to communities in Canada, Switzerland, Australia and the USA during the past year. Although all viable Czech Torah scrolls were allocated many years ago, when Scroll Holder communities close, or merge with another of our scroll-holders, their scrolls must be returned to us and become available for new loans.
Our webpage project has now made over 400 links here. Our goal is to link over 1000 scroll-holders around the world. If your community has not yet added a page to your website about your Czech scroll we hope you will soon do so. Please contact us if you need any assistance. When your page is live, let us know and we will then list you on our website.
The Czech Scroll Towns Project
Our website now lists the towns our scrolls came from, together with information about their Jewish history and the fate of their Jews. In addition to information, we shall be adding photos. We have been extremely fortunate and are very grateful to Sheila Pallay and her husband Herb, who kindly volunteered to visit the Czech Republic to photograph synagogues and other places of Jewish interest. Eventually you will see their photos on the Towns section.
We are offering the opportunity to list links against each Scroll Holder town, initially starting with Wikipedia pages. We offer the opportunity to volunteers to research links on a particular Town or on a particular subject across a set of Scroll Towns, for example on Transport Lists, on practical visit information, on Jewish genealogy related to our towns. Contact us for more information on how to record and send us links.
We have started to add a list of Jewish themed Museums and Galleries across the world. If you spot a Jewish themed museum or cultural institution that should be on this list, then let us know. We especially hope that someone can research and record the small town museums often built in old synagogues in Bohemia and Moravia.
PS We publish many short articles and Czech Scroll Museum visitor pictures on our Facebook page - please click Facebook Like to keep in touch with us.
The Memorial Scrolls Trust is delighted to launch a new initiative to provide educational content about the rescue and ongoing commemoration of 1,564 scrolls from Bohemia and Moravia. These scrolls survived the Shoah and have been spread around the world for safe keeping and to pay tribute to so many lost communities. Our story resonates with all kinds of people: scroll holders non-scroll-holders, people of all faiths and backgrounds but especially seniors and B’nai mitzvoth students. Our virtual content can help educate and entertain during this unusual time of social distancing requirements. To that end, we would like to offer, free of charge, opportunities to share our programming and expertise with your congregations. We have volunteer Experts available to speak about the following topics:
The Czech Scroll Story: From Bohemia and Moravia to the Diaspora
Our Binder (wimpel) collection: Custom-made Textiles representing 200 years of Jewish life in the Czech Republic
Czech Jewish Towns: A photo journey about the towns that held scrolls
Recently we had one of the Torah scrolls in our London museum carbon-dated. Small pieces without writing or other elements attached were examined and can confirm "the parchment dates with 95.4% probability between 1255 and 1295AD" that is over 700 years old. MST#1540 has no provenance other than it came from an unknown town in Bohemia and Moravia
As you can see from the photo the scroll cannot be restored for ritual use, but we hope to fund-raise in order that it can be restored for museum exhibitions.
Roll your Scrolls
During lockdown, we are reminding scroll holders that, if possible, you should "air" your scrolls, to stop the build up of any moisture or fungal spores. Scrolls should be rolled from beginning to end once a year, even if your scroll is a Memorial and not readable. We’ll be doing the same with our scrolls in the Czech scroll museum until we are allowed to re-open.