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, and our Scroll Towns  

MST Newsletter Winter 2024


Our 60th anniversary year

Dear Friends

Welcome to our 36th newsletter. 

When B’nei Mitzvah read their parshiyot from a Czech Sefer Torah they fulfill the hopes of Czech Jews that their Torah would survive and be used in meaningful ways.  This past Shabbat, at Westminster Synagogue a young lady leyened her parshah from a Czech Scroll. I was also  honoured with the Mitzvah of reading the Haftarah from a rare Czech Haftarah scroll.  After the service I presented Lydia with a copy of "1564 Scrolls - a Legacy of Jewish Life in Bohemia and Moravia" as a Bat Mitzvah gift. I am sure you will understand  the pride of a  grandfather proudly recalling the beautiful chanting of his eldest grand-daughter, as it was a very special morning for us all.

Once again we are experiencing a tragic time in Jewish history, with so many turning their backs on us. The death of any innocent is tragic, we hope and pray for the speedy and safe  return of all those kidnapped, as well as peace in our times.

I shall be flying to Israel February 6th with with Andrew Keene of WUPJ, taking two  kosher Czech Torah.  MST#1404 is for  Beit Shmuel in Jerusalem, and MST#8009, a s scroll of Israeli origin kosher is for Kehilat Sha’ar Hanegev, a Reform consortium of communities. 

We have very few Czech Torah in South America communities and are pleased to have allocated MST#532 to Templo Torat Jaim, Santiago de Chile. We thank Ariel Heller, a Chilean who works in London at Jewish Futures, for receiving MST#532 on their behalf. 

Several Scroll Gatherings celebrating our 60th anniversary year have already taken place and more will take place throughout the year.  We are very grateful to the communities that are holding them and all those who participate. Listed below are more 60th anniversary events, and hope that you and your community can join us across the world in 2024.

Book gift for B'nei Mitzvah and other occasions

The best way for your B’nei Mitzvah and others to learn about the scrolls is to read our book.  They make an excellent  and very reasonably priced gift and are also suitable for sale in shops, when ordered in packs of 10.  We encourage you to place your order for your gift books, at the special price.

Jeffrey Ohrenstein,


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.

Please subscribe to MST's general Newsletter here.

The link to subscribe to the Ostrava newsletter is here.


During Lydia Ohrenstein's final practice session for her Bat Mitzvah, 


Dale Bluestein was able to video her for his forthcoming Czech Scrolls documentary, and to take photographs.




B'nei Mitzvah 10 pack

Many scroll holder communities ensure their B'nei Mitzvah read from their Czech Memorial Scroll. We hope that Scroll Holder Communities can take advantage of our offer to purchase the ten pack of our newly published book 1564 Scrolls a Legacy of Jewish Life in Bohemia and Moravia to offer as a gift to your B'nei Mitzvah children.

We are offering a ten pack at £100 plus postage, a discount of £75. A single book is offered at £17.50 plus postage for 150 pages, full colour, hardback.


1564 Scrolls a Legacy of Jewish Life in Bohemia and Moravia

£17.50 plus shipping


10 Pack 1564 Scrolls a Legacy of Jewish Life in Bohemia and Moravia

£100 plus shipping


The paperback release of Anna Hájková’s The Last Ghetto, on 27th January 2024 at 7pm.

To mark the Holocaust Memorial Day, Velehrad, in cooperation with the Czech Embassy and the Polin Institute for Jewish studies, will host the paperback release of Anna Hájková’s The Last Ghetto, on 27thJanuary 2024 at 7pm.

Anna Hájková in conversation with François Guesnet

On 27th January 2024 at 7pm at Velehrad 

39 Lonsdale Road, Barnes, London, SW13 9JP

Terezín was operated by the Nazis between November 1941 and May 1945 as a transit ghetto for all Czech Jews, as well as those from Central and Western Europe. Today, Theresienstadt is best known for the Nazi propaganda of the International Red Cross visit, cultural life, and children. But these aspects explain little what defined the lives of its 140,000 inmates. The Last Ghetto offers both a modern history of this Central European ghetto and the first in-depth analytical history of a prison society during the Holocaust. Theresienstadt produced its own social hierarchies under which even small differences among prisoners decided their fate. During the three and a half years of the camp's existence, prisoners created their own culture and habits, bonded, fell in love, and forged new families. Based on extensive archival research and witness testimonies, The Last Ghetto: An Everyday History of Theresienstadt, published by the Oxford University Press, casts light on how human society works in extremis.


Sefer Torah ink

In our museum Sofar display, we show Oak Galls. Here's a video that explains how oak galls, iron sulfate, and gum arabic are used to make torah scroll ink.


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.


18 January & 20 January, Notre Dame de France, London

Twice a year, MST is pleased to welcome Catholics from London's French Church, Notre Dame de France to our museum. To mark International Holocaust Memorial Day and also MST's 60th anniversary, NDF welcomes people to two events at their church:

Fragility of Freedom - Why it is important for Christians to remember the Shoah? Thursday 18th January, 7.30 pm 1 9 pm, NDF Leicester Square, London

Celebrating the Torah: Shema Israel - readings, music and meditation Sunday 20th January, Sunday 20th January, 6 pm - 7.15 pm, NDF Leicester Square, London

NDF will also run an exhibition on the Shoah for a month.


Monday, 29 January 2024 Open University UK

Fragility of Freedom

MST will participate in an online discussion about Holocaust Memorial Day for staff and students of the Open University, UK


Sunday, 4 February 2024 London, UK - Westminster Synagogue

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.


Friday, 9 February 2024 London, UK - North West Surry Synagogue

MST will join North West Surry Synagogue on Erev Shabbat and talk about the Czech Scrolls -  this community has a Czech Scroll from the town of Klatovy


Sunday, 25 February 2024 Phoenix, AZ - The Arizona Jewish Historical Society

The Arizona Jewish Historical Society will host a 60th anniversary Czech Memorial Scroll Gathering on 25 February 2024, repeating its successful Czech Memorial Scroll Gathering of 2015.


Sunday, 17 March 2024 Sharon, MA - Temple Sinai

Temple Sinai, MA, will host a 60th anniversary Czech Memorial Scroll Gathering on 17 March 2024.


Sunday, 7 April 2024 New York, NY - Temple Emanu-El

Temple Emanu-El will repeat its successful Czech Memorial Scroll Gathering of 2019 on 7 April 2024.


Sunday, 14 April 2024 Orange County, CA - Temple Beth Tikvah

Temple Beth Tikvah, Fullerton, Orange County, CA, will host a 60th anniversary Czech Memorial Scroll Gathering on 14 April 2024, the same year as their own 60th anniversary of foundation.


Saturday, 18 May 2024 London UK - Liberal Jewish Synagogue

Liberal Jewish Synagogue invites you to join them for a torah service focussed on their Czech Memorial Scroll, and to include the first Ralph Yablon Memorial Talk.


3 November 2024 Wayne, NJ - Temple Beth Tikvah

Temple Beth Tikvah and the Gross Center at Ramapo College will host a 60th anniversary Czech Memorial Scroll Gathering on 3 November, 2024.


24 October Simchat Torah at Ec Chajim, Prague

Ec Chajim, Prague, invites you to join them to celebrate Simchat Torah with their Czech Memorial Scroll


10 November 2024 Sarasota, FL - Jewish Federation

The Jewish Federation of Sarasota Manatee will host a 60th anniversary Czech Memorial Scroll Gathering on 10 November 2024.


Hannukah 2024 Israel - Beit Theresienstadt, Kibbutz Givat Haim Ichud, Israel

The Beit Theresenstadt centre will host a 60th anniversary Czech Memorial Scroll Gathering during Hanukkah 2024.


Scroll Towns


Pacov Synagogue - A Unique Journey - Rabbi Ronald S. Roth

On the morning of August 13th, 2023, I arrived in Pacov. I stood outside the synagogue. It survived World War II, but had been used for various commercial purposes in the intervening years. It had been neglected and in need of repair. Tikkun Pacov was able to purchase the building, have it declared an official Czech historical site, and complete some preservation work. There was a new roof. Four of the ten windows had been replaced and two exterior sides were renovated. There was still much to be done with the hope of making it a memorial to the Jews of that town, as well as a community center for Pacov. I walked around the building. I paused for a few minutes just looking and sensing what this place meant to the Jews of Pacov. I took a breath and finally stepped inside. It looked familiar from the photos I had seen. Pavel Tychtl had created six large posters with photos of the Jews of Pacov and they were arranged along the sides. He had sent me several of those pictures and I recognized many faces. There they were, posing for the camera, standing with their families at a simcha, playing musical instruments, riding bicycles or simply enjoying a vacation. As I knew from my research, and as the photos attested, the Jews of Pacov were very modern and well-integrated into Czech society. This was not a sheitel

Rabbi Roth's story continues here


Ceske Budejovice

Ruth Leveson writes

People have asked me what motivated me to research the history of Radlett and Bushey Reform Synagogue's Czech scroll. There are two sentences from our liturgy, one centuries old and one recent one that I always think of when I see the scroll. The first is from Ben Sira and is from a passage that precedes the Yizkor service on Yom Kippur and the other is from the bar/bat mitzvah prayer that is recited on the occasion of child becoming bar or bat mitzvah.

“But there are some, who have no memorial,

who perished as if they had never been;

Who vanished as if they had never existed,

And also their children who followed them.”

“I think also of those who have gone before me, who through all the troubles of the world preserved this heritage of holiness and goodness, so that I should enter into it now.”

By knowing about the community who had the scroll before us, we are able to give them a memorial and ensure that we carry on the heritage for which they themselves were so cruelly persecuted and murdered.

Read on here - and the powerpoint here


The Ostrava Newsletter Project

MST has been delighted to welcome on board the Ostrava Newsletter project. lead by Dr David Lawson and Marian Popper. 

You can subscribe to the Ostrava newsletter here.


22 Stolpersteine were delivered to Ostrava just before the haggim. The Ostrava City Engineers department have started to lay them. The Ostrava Circle will now have 84 Steine in place in Ostrava.

Making of Stolpersteine

Here is a video, in German, about the making of Stolpersteine


MST Scroll Loans


The Non Czech Scrolls Adoption Service

Torah Scrolls not from the MST Czech collection

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.

  1. The Torah Scroll is the property of the Memorial Scrolls Trust.

  2. The Torah Scroll is issued exclusively to a designated congregation or institution (“the Recipient”) on long term loan.

  3. The Recipient will pay to the Trust an initial donation of $5000

  4. New Recipients shall make an annual donation to the Trust of $360. 

  5. 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 

  1. Recipients who are synagogues, shall have an annual commemorative service dedicated to the Jews of the Memorial Scroll town. 

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. The Recipient is responsible for the safekeeping of the Scroll, and for its condition.

  6. The Recipient must arrange and pay for any repairs or restoration that may be necessary while the Scroll is in their care.

  7. 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.

  8. Where the Etz Chayim are replaced, the MST brass plaque with the Scroll’s identification number must be preserved and reaffixed

  9. Under no circumstances whatsoever may the Torah Scroll be buried. 

  10. 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.

  11. 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.

  12. 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]

IBAN. GB22NWBK60730187579650. BIC: NWBKGB2L


Memorial Scrolls Trust

Copyright © 2022 Memorial Scrolls Trust

All rights reserved.

Kent House, Rutland Gardens

London SW7 1BX, United Kingdom

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