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Our Czech Scroll

Holocaust Memorial Torah #298

On the bimah at Temple Beth-El, protected in a glass case, is the Orphan Torah. This Torah is among the 1,564 torahs that were discovered in Prague at the end of World War II.  These torahs came from the communities of Bohemia, Moravia and Slovakia. The sacred scrolls were taken by the Nazis from their communities as their rightful owners were murdered. All that remains from these communities are the sacred scrolls. They are orphans.

The Memorial Scroll Trust was created to preserve these scrolls and find synagogues to adopt them. Temple Beth-El's scroll #298 is on loan to the synagogue with the condition that it is displayed in a respectful, commemorative manner. Thus it sits in its own prominent case, perpetually enshrined on the bimah. While the town of origin is known for many of the scrolls, there was no entry next to number 298. Not only are its owners dead, they are not even known. This is truly an Orphan Torah, but also a witness to history and our national indestructibility.

Just as there are Torah scrolls whose place of origin cannot be identified, there are communities that are not connected to Torah scrolls. There were about 210 Jewish communities in Bohemia and Moravia, 60 in the Sudetenland, and 20 in Prague itself. The destroyed communities that have no existing Torah Scroll or other ritual objects are the Lost Congregations. 

This Czech Scroll was dedicated at Temple Beth-El on Friday, Febuary 7, 2014 at Shabbat Services. On the following day, It was included in the Torah Procession, and following the Haftarah, tables were set up in the Sanctuary and the Orphan Torah scroll was opened and viewed. We are very proud to have this holy artifact in our care.

Learn more about the Memorial Scroll Trust here.

Tue, May 21 2024 13 Iyyar 5784