Stories that connect us - meet us in Prague & Israel in May 22, zoom talks, to visitors from everywhere, and plans for our 60th anniversary "60 in '24"
MST Newsletter February 2022
Save the Date in Czech Republic
Welcome to the 23rd edition of our Newsletter.
60 in '24
In February 2024 we will celebrate the 60th anniversary of the Czech Scrolls arriving in London. We have already received a number of responses to our invitation to join with us in a series of commemorative services and events we are planning to take place around the world, starting on Simchat Torah, 2023.
Your Czech Torah scroll is very special and at least 100 years old. Please consider sponsoring an MST sofer to visit and maintain your scroll so it is ready for the 60th anniversary celebrations.
Can your community host a Scroll Gathering service for your region? We have had gatherings from 20 to 74 Czech Scrolls participating. I hope to be able to join several communities during the celebratory year.
Celebrate with your Czech Torah Scroll
Let us know of your Scroll celebration plans. We'll help publicise and offer you resource materials.
Your Czech Survivor Sifrei Torah, a survivor and silent witness of the Shoah, commemorates the murder of Jews and destruction of Jewish life in the Shoah. You are offered the chance to celebrate the survival and return of Jewish life in Central Europe.We are united in our timeless love of Torah.
Save the Date
Czech Republic and Israel in May 2022 - join us in person or by live stream
The Memorial Scrolls Trust is allocating on loan MST#565 Torah Scroll, once used by the Jewish community of Olomouc, to Museum Beit Theresienstadt where it will become the inspirational source of a unique Bar/Bat Mitzvah Jewish Heritage educational program.
Beit Theresienstadt, together with MST, the International March of the Living, B’nai B’rith International, the Terezin Memorial and the Jewish Museum in Prague, will rededicate the MST#565 Torah Scroll at the Czech Republic annual Commemoration of the Liberation of Theresienstadt. The final event of this Journey of Remembrance and Renewal will take place when the MST#565 Olomouc Torah Scroll will be installed to its new educational home during the annual meeting of Museum Beit Theresienstadt (Kibbutz Givat Haim Ihud, Israel).
May 13-14, 2022 Czech Republic:
• Lectures, Networking & Social Gathering
• Guided tour of the Jewish Museum Prague.
• Festive Shabbat meals with local members of the Jewish Community
• Daven with local Jewish Communities.
May 15, 2022 Czech Republic:
• The March of the Living Scroll
From the Bohusovice train station in the footsteps of those deported to Theresienstadt
• The Czech Republic National Commemoration of the Liberation of Theresienstadt
• Memorial Scrolls Trust & Beit Theresienstadt Olomouc Torah Ceremony
• Guided Tour of Terezin
May 20, 2022 Israel:
• Installation of the Olomouc Torah Scroll at the annual Beit Theresienstadt Museum meeting
Tel: +972-(0)4-6369515, +972-(0)58-6369515
The ceremonies will be held as per COVID guidelines & broadcast via LIVE STREAM.
The Czech Scrolls Museum
We invite you to visit the Czech Scrolls Museum for a guided tour, however you need to book your visit in advance.
Cheder and b'nai mitsvah group visits.
Individuals and families.
We do not charge for your visit - any donation offered goes to our Czech Scrolls Maintenance & Repair Fund.
I hope to meet you in UK, Czechia or Israel over the next few months.
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.
Rachel watched the horse drawn cart carrying the coffin of her husband Nataniel set off. She called her children together, all dressed in their best Shabbat clothes, wrapped her shawl around her against the cold autumn air and set off to follow Nataniel on his final journey to the cemetery in Mecholupy. The older boys leading the younger children. The year was 1783. The Jewish cemetery lay between Zelec and Mecholupy about four kilometres away from their small stone cottage. The cemetery was situated in a small copse at the top of a hill in the midst of fields growing hops. It was surrounded by a low stone wall and had been bought by both Jewish Communities from a local farmer. The land was not particularly fertile or usable lying on the hill top, so it had not been too big for the farm. It was a peaceful spot and seemed very suitable for a cemetery.
Rachel and Nataniel had been married for eighteen years, but had been childhood sweethearts for much longer. Although severe sickness was always a present danger, she was still numb from shock at the speed of the pneumonia that had taken her husband away from her.
As they walked the leaves blew across the pathway and that strange bright autumn light gleamed through the trees. She tried to remember the first time that she had met Nataniel.
The Frankl family had come to Zelec, the village where her family, headed by Marcus Koniersch had lived for many years. They arrived in 1745, when she was just four years old. Refugees from Prague, escaping the banishment of the Jews as demanded by Empress Maria Theresa because she thought they were becoming too rich and powerful.
Do you like our new map? At the suggestion of Miles Laddie, Peter Barber, our Trustee and a map specialist, led on creating a new wall map for the MST Museum. It shows the town locations of our scrolls as recorded in 1942. It shows the pre war borders of Bohemia and Moravia, before much of Prussia was transferred to Poland. You can see how the Czech Jewish community was situated between Slavic and German speaking countries; how the SS invasion of the Sudetenland as a German speaking region could lead to the destruction of every synagogue, but the following invasion of Czech speaking Bohemia and Moravia did not immediately lead to the burning of the Shuls. There were many more Czech Jewish communities historically, than are associated with our scrolls. Would you like to buy a copy of our new map? Let us know and we'll have a series printed.
Have you booked your MST Conversation?
Using Zoom, MST is delighted to offer sessions 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.
We 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
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 do the same with our scrolls in the Czech scroll museum.
We were honoured in 2019 for Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis, Chief Rabbi of the United Kingdom and the Commonwealth, to accept the personal loan of a kosher Czech Survivor Scroll
Current Scroll Holder Community Terms
Memorial Scrolls Trust
English Registered Charity Number: 1196488
Conditions of Loan - summary
When a Memorial Torah Scroll is entrusted to a congregation on long term loan, it is on the understanding that the congregation makes a long term commitment to give this Sefer Torah a prominent and meaningful role in the spiritual and educational life of the congregation. This requires the rabbi and the leaders of the congregation to pledge to dedicate one Shabbat every year to the Jews of their Memorial Torah Scroll – the people, their community, their fate and their heritage. Each Scroll is a messenger from a martyred community that depends on its new community to ensure that their heritage is cherished as well as their remembrance as individuals.
The Torah Scroll is the property of the Memorial Scrolls Trust.
The Torah Scroll is issued exclusively to a designated congregation or institution (“the Recipient”) on long term loan.
The Recipient will pay to the Trust an initial donation of $5000
New Recipients shall make an annual donation to the Trust of $360.
The Recipients website should have a page or an article about their Czech Torah and its history, as well as the Memorial Scrolls Trust and the Czech Scrolls Museum. The website should also have a link to the MST website www.memorialscrollstrust.org
Recipients who are synagogues, shall have an annual commemorative service dedicated to the Jews of the Memorial Scroll town.
The Recipient must provide the Trust with a written report a minimum of once every 5 years. This will give an update of the physical condition of the scroll and share highlights of the role it plays in the community.
The Torah Scroll may not be transferred to any other organisation, and must be returned to the Trust in the event of the closure or merger of the designated organisation.
Where a Torah Scroll has been loaned to a museum, it should be placed on display. If it is kept in storage for a period of more than 2 months, it should be returned to the Trust.
The Recipient is responsible for the safekeeping of the Scroll, and for its condition.
The Recipient must arrange and pay for any repairs or restoration that may be necessary while the Scroll is in their care.
Before any repair or restoration work may be undertaken on the Scroll, advance notice must be given and permission needs to be granted by the Trust. The specified work must be undertaken only by or under the close supervision of a nominated certified scribe approved by the Trust.
Where the Etz Chayim are replaced, the MST brass plaque with the Scroll’s identification number must be preserved and reaffixed
Under no circumstances whatsoever may the Torah Scroll be buried.
The certificate of origin that comes with the Torah Scroll must be framed and displayed in a prominent position near the Scroll. If the certificate cannot be found, then the Recipient must contact the Trust to arrange and pay for a replacement.
The Recipient must maintain adequate insurance against normal risks, and the Trust’s ownership of the Torah Scroll must be endorsed on the insurance policy. Each Torah Scroll to be insured for $25,000.
The Torah Scroll may not be unrolled in its entirety for any reason except that which pertains to its upkeep.
UK £ Sterling Bank Account
Sort Code 60-04-04 Account 86880594
IBAN GB28NWBK60040486880594 BIC: NWBKGB2L
USD $ Bank Account
Sort code 60-04-04 Currency 140 Type 00 Account 87579650 [140/00/87579650]