Holocaust Memorial Torah Scroll and Survivor (#865)
Temple Adas Shalom is the custodian for a sefer Torah (Torah scroll) that survived the Holocaust. We received this scroll in on May 2, 1986. Our scroll is on permanent loan from the Memorials Scrolls Trust in London, and its transfer to our synagogue was made possible by the generosity of the Sadowsky family and Rabbi Kenneth Block in memory of the six million Jews who died in the Holocaust.
The scroll is used by our congregation every year when we remove it from its display case on Erev Yom Kippur, when we assemble all of the Torah scrolls for the Kol Nidre prayer. It is kept in a glass display cabinet prominently displayed directly adjacent to the bema in our sanctuary, reminding us when we assemble that our present is formed by our past and that the people of Israel endure through prayer and perseverance.
The beautiful display cabinet that houses our scroll was handcrafted by Dr. Dave Rosenblatt to match the beautiful arcs that he built to hold our different Torah. Dr. Rosenblatt was a longtime and beloved member of the Harford County community and member of Temple Adas Shalom until his passing in 2017.
Pinkas Synagogue, Prague
Our Holocaust Memorial Torah Scroll (#865) is one of several located after World War II at Pinkas Synagogue in Prague. Once revered by a Czech congregation in the early 19th century, it would ultimately be confiscated by German enemies in the 1940's. It would later become a part of a unique Jewish Collection of the Czechoslovakian State Museum in the ancient city of Prague, which would be moved to London, before becoming a Holocaust survivor and silent witness here at Temple Adas Shalom in Havre de Grace, MD.
In 1939, the Nazis invaded Bohemia, Moravia, and Slovakia. In 1942, a call went out to have the Jewish communities send all of their religious items, including Torah scrolls to Prague to be included in the Jewish Museum there. All of the items were carefully documented and stored in warehouses. When the Nazis were defeated, the scrolls remained in the State Jewish Museum in Prague until the communists took control in 1948. They had the scrolls moved to the old Czech Synagogue of Michle. Sadly, the scrolls began to deteriorate because of poor storage and inadequate funds for repair.
In 1963, the scrolls came to the attention of the Westminster Synagogue in London. All of the Torahs were transferred from Prague to London where they were cataloged and assessed. Torahs that were in good condition were made available to congregations throughout the world. Although the communities these Torahs had come from were destroyed, Jewish communities around the world now welcomed the Torahs into thriving Jewish communities. Of the 1,564 Czech Torah scrolls cataloged in London, many have been identified with a original congregation; others, like ours, are currently considered "orphans."
Our Czech Sefer Torah, a survivor and silent witness of the Shoah, commemorates the murder of Jews and destruction of Jewish life during the Shoah. Holocaust Memorial Torah Scroll (#865) offers the chance to celebrate the survival and return of Jewish life in Central Europe. We are united in our timeless love of Torah.
Pinkas Synagogue is a memorial to the more than 78,000 Czech Jews who died in the Holocaust and is administered by the Jewish Museum in Prague. You can read more about the history of Jews in Bohemia and Moravia before and after the Holocaust on the Memorial Scrolls Trust's page.