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At NNLS we have one of the Czech Memorial Scrolls – pictured here – and which we hope to shortly have displayed somewhere prominent within our building.
The origins of this scroll (Scroll Number #159) are sadly not known, and so it is referred to by the Scrolls Memorial Trust simply as an ‘orphan scroll’. At NNLS we take out our Memorial Scroll each year on Yom HaShoa and place it on the bimah during our commemorative service. It has also been used occasionally at other events, including recently at a bar mitzvah of one of our students who engaged in a whole project about the Memorial Scrolls as part of his Bar Mitzvah journey.
The Memorial Scrolls Trust has a sacred responsibility for nearly 1600 Czech Torah scrolls. The scrolls were rescued from the Holocaust by the Prague Jewish community, which largely perished, and were brought to Westminster Synagogue almost 50 years ago.
Through the scrolls we:
– Remember European Jewish life before the Holocaust as well as its tragic destruction
– Challenge those who interact with the scrolls to confront prejudice and hatred
– Inspire them to action by committing to their Jewish lives and working to build bridges across communities
Through the work of the Trust, today, these scrolls can be found in every corner of the globe. They help their host congregations to remember not just individual Jews, but whole communities, whose names might otherwise be forgotten. In many cases they are their congregation’s only scrolls, defiantly enabling the continuity of Jewish life. Some of the scrolls are used to bring together different faiths, to understand each others’ traditions and beliefs, and pray together. Others have even played a part in reuniting families.
Fifty years on, as the remaining survivors grow ever older, our mission is more important than ever. We ask for your help to continue to give these dynamic messengers a second life as a focus for education, interfaith understanding and action for a new generation.
Click here to learn more about the Memorial Scrolls Trust.