Stories that connect us - From the start of our 60th anniversary year, to our book 1564 Scrolls A legacy of Jewish Life in Bohemia and Moravia, to our scroll gatherings
MST Newsletter Fall 2023
Our 60th anniversary year has started!
Welcome to our 35th newsletter.
Jewish curators and librarians at the Jewish Museum in Prague catalogued over 200,000 items of Judaica shipped there during the Shoah. They did so with a hope for Jewish continuity after the war. Despite knowing very few of them would survive, they still had hope.
When your community uses a Czech Torah scroll to celebrate B’nei Mitzvah, or is used as part of a memorial, or for education, you are fulfilling their hopes that their Sifrei Torah would survive and be used in meaningful ways. Thank you all for your interest and support of these unique Torah scrolls.
Once again we are experiencing a tragic time in Jewish history and look forward to the return of all those kidnapped, as well as peace in our times.
WUPJ, the World Union of Progressive Judaism is completing redevelopment of its Jerusalem site and this will include a new synagogue, Beit Shmuel. A request for Czech Torah MST#1404, that was previously at the USA Kutz Camp, has been approved . We are planning to allocate another kosher Sefer Torah to Kehilat Sha’ar Hanegev, a Reform consortium of communities. This scroll was written in Israel and is not part of our Czech collection, donated to us by the WCLS in London when they closed.
As part of our ongoing support of new Jewish communities in South America, we have allocated MST#532 to Templo Torat Chaim, Santiago de Chile.
We are extremely grateful for your support of our Scroll Gatherings in 60th anniversary year. I flew last week to the USA to attend events at Rodeph Shalom, Philadelphia and Temple Emanu-El, Palm Beach. Whilst there I also gave talks at Beth Am in Abington and Temple Beth El Israel in Port Saint Lucie. These scroll gatherings are about your local communities celebrating our common heritage.
In this electronically connected world, we encourage every community to have a Czech Torah webpage. We have now linked over 530 pages on the websites of our scrolls holder communities and need your help to reach our target of over 1,000
Our new book 1564 Scrolls - a Legacy of Jewish Life in Bohemai and Moravia is receiving very positive comments, Rabbi Andrew Goldstein writes “it is superb and a fitting and much needed account of all aspects of the story. … it is triumph and a most suitable publication with which to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the arrival of the scrolls.” We hope that you can enjoy our book as much as he did "1564 Scrolls A legacy of Jewish Life in Bohemia and Moravia"
Book gift for B'nei Mitzvah and other occasions
We have started shipping out the ten-packs of our new book to communities, museums and organisations which have taken advantage of our special offer. We hope that you can also place your order for your gift books, at a special price.
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.
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The link to subscribe to the Ostrava newsletter is here.
The book arrived yesterday and I have already read through it, at speed. Now I have started a second reading that has taken all my attention. It is superb and a fitting, and much needed, account of all aspects of the story. It contains so many facts and insights I have long sought to teach me the real story. So many aspects covered in such readable English. It is so attractively designed – it is triumph and a most suitable publication with which to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the arrival of the scrolls.
A month ago Sharon and I took a group from The Ark to Czech and Slovak Republics. Last weekend Rabbi Aaron Goldstein was in Kolín with our Kabbalat Torah class. The Mayor of Kolín was there to greet them and stay for the Shabbat morning service. I have just written to the mayor, Michael Kašpar, to invite him to the event on 4th February, following the generous offer from the Westminster Synagogue.
Rabbi Dr Andrew Goldstein
Pavla Niklová is the new Director of the Jewish Museum, Prague
We wish her every success in her new position, and wish Leo a long and happy retirement.
In summer 1965, at a cross community service at Westminster Synagogue, Chief Rabbi Dr Israel Brodie led the saying of kaddish for those who had died in the Shoah. This Jewish service can take many forms, and is expected to be cross community, bringing multiple Scroll Holder Communities together across a region.
The following are special scroll gatherings being organised to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the Memorial Scrolls arriving in London.
On the 85th Anniversary of the tragedy of Kristallnacht, Rodeph Shalom in Philadelphia, led by Rabbi Jill Maerer hosted a MST Czech scroll-gathering to celebrate 60 years since the scrolls were brought to London, and the subsequent distribution of most of them to communities around the world.
It was a great privilege to attend this amazing event in an exceptionally beautiful synagogue, surrounded by hundreds of participants.
Thanks to the dedication of Dr Barbara Chesler and her team, 60 Torah scrolls were brought in, many from considerable distances.
Temple Emanu-El, Palm Beach, led by Rabbi Michael Resnick, hosted a MST Czech scroll-gathering to celebrate 60 years since the scrolls were brought to London. They also marked their own 60th Anniversary - Mazal tov!
It was a great privilege to attend this amazing event in a beautiful modern synagogue.
Thanks to the dedication of Lauren Mufson and her team, 25 Torah scrolls were brought in.
Lauren is already working on our next Florida Scroll Gathering, in Sarasota, 10 November 2024.
Hopkins Centre at Dartmouth College, will host a showing of the documentary Carpati: 50 Miles, 50 years on 30 January, 2024. There will be a talk about the Czech scrolls before the event. The Upper Valley Jewish Community and Dartmouth Hillel, are co-trustees of a Czech Memorial Scroll.
MST's home synagogue, Westminster Synagogue, London, will host the 60th anniversary Scroll Gathering on Sunday 4th February 2024, to mark the arrival of the Czech Scrolls at Kent House on 5th February 1964.
We are pleased to announce that MST is offering a scroll re homing service for non Czech Sifrei Torah. If your community has scrolls it can no longer care for, we will take, examine for being made kosher, and offer to communities around the world who need a kosher Torah Scroll, but not necessarily a Czech Memorial Scroll.
This project started when communities shut down and contacted us to return their Czech Memorial Scroll. They asked us if we could accept their other scrolls.
Accustomed to handling Torah Scrolls, we have accepted 9 scrolls to date, allocating them on loan to communities which need a Torah but it is not appropriate for them to have one of our Czech ones. Three have been allocated so far and another, a kosher Sefer Torah is planned to go Sefer Torah to Kehilat Sha’ar Hanegev, Israel.
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]