Tuesday 21 June 2016

We Hope to See You Again Soon, Joseph!

Just said goodbye to the lovely Dr Joseph Toltz, who has been a great friend to the MST for many years, helping to discover the whereabouts, retrieve and reallocate Czech scrolls across Australia.

Wednesday 15 June 2016

Are You on the MST Map?

The MST website has a new feature: once you, the Scroll-holder, have created a page about the Czech scroll on your organisational website, when you link to the MST, you get to be on our map!

Thursday 19 May 2016

Recent Visitors to the MST

Corona del Mar residents Aviva and Fredric Forster stopped by the MST Museum today for a visit during their 4 days in London. The MST is often honoured by visits from North American tourists whose hometown synagogues are guardians of a Czech Scroll. This visit, however, was special.
Fred explained that the trip to London was arranged about 10 months ago. His father was from Ostrava, and was barmitzvahed with a scroll that is probably one of the 15 scrolls from Ostrava in the MST collection. “A visit to the museum was always part of the plan,” he said. What he had not foreseen was that 5 days ago he would have been reading from a Czech scroll as part of his own Bar Mitzvah celebration.
160515#349  shir hamalot bm fredric forster 01
“My parents were secular Jews,” said Fred, “so I was kind of on the outside, looking in.” He explained that Aviva had grown up in a Conservative family, and had even been Bat Mitzvah. She had provided the practical Jewish education for their children, and he was proud to have four Jewish grandchildren. However, upon hearing recently that there was now a date for the first Bat Mitzvah of the next generation, he decided that the time had come for him to come in, and to demonstrate to the grandchildren his belief in Jewish continuity. So Fred studied, and prepared, and last Shabbat he read Parshat Kedoshim at Congregation Shir Ha-Ma’alot in Irvine, CA. And the scroll from which he read was MST #349 from Litomysl.
160515 #349  shir hamalot bm fredric forster 03
It was a joy and a privilege to walk with the Forsters through the story of the Czech Scrolls, and to hear how their story was woven into ours. We know they will return to the community in Irvine with renewed enthusiasm for the role an MST scroll can play l’dor va-dor, across the generations. Mazal tov Fred on your Bar Mitzvah! And kol ha-kovod to all at Shir Ha-Ma’alot for loving and using MST #349 so well.

Thursday 28 April 2016

From the Archives

On Tuesdays and Thursdays, the MST Museum is open to the public. Usually, visits are pre-arranged, which is a great help with regard to the security of the building. However, on those days we do welcome visitors whose spontaneity has taken them to Kent House rather than Harrods!
This morning the bell rang and two young American women asked to see the scrolls. They were from Los Angeles, but in London as part of a programme run by their universities in the Boston area. As is usual with our guests, I asked what brought them to the MST. “My grandmother’s uncle was Rabbi Reinhart, and my mother said I must visit the scrolls!” was the response.
The young lady had never met the Reinharts, but I had known Mrs Reinhart, and visited her flat many times as a child. Thus, the tour today was slightly different. As we walked through the museum that once was the home of Harold and Flora Reinhart, I was able to add some details of how the rooms had looked previously, and memories of those days.
As our visitors prepared to depart, they seemed quite moved, and noted that they’d learned more than they had expected. It is always an honour that people who’ve travelled so far to visit the great city of London will take time out of their itinerary for the MST museum, and I thanked our guests for stopping by.
It so happens that yesterday in the archives I came across a photograph of Rabbi Reinhart with the scrolls that I’d not seen before …

Thursday 17 December 2015

Message for Florida Scroll-Holders!

Susan Boyer has sent us the following message:

We are pleased to announce that Temple Beth El of Hollywood in conjunction with the Memorial Scrolls Trust is hosting Florida’s first ever Holocaust Torah Reunion.  This weekend long event will take place on February 12 – 14, 2016. 

The events of the weekend have been planned to educate and celebrate.  The foremost authorities will be present to host workshops and lectures on the restoration, preservation, and continued use of these treasured scrolls.  Expert sofrim will be on hand to examine the Torahs and reveal their individual histories.  Learn how many of the scribes used hidden mystical symbols in creating these scrolls, and find out if your congregation’s Holocaust Torah has these, too.  Many holocaust survivors will be present to share their stories of endurance – not unlike the unique stories of survival each of these scrolls has as well.

We hope to reunite many of these precious Torah scrolls for the first time since they were rescued and taken to the Westminster Synagogue in London in 1964.  It was soon after they were rescued that the Memorial Scrolls Trust was established.  The Trust’s purpose was, and still is, to ensure that these precious scrolls would be distributed to congregations throughout the world to be loved and cherished by future generations. 

Your participation is crucial to that very cause and to the Torah Reunion’s success.  Please consider attending and bringing your congregation’s Holocaust Torah with you.  Round-the-clock security will be on hand to guard the Torahs in our sanctuary, should you decide to bring and store your scroll with ours. 

A detailed schedule of events is available for all participants.  Honor your Holocaust Torah by learning as much as you can about it, while honoring us with your presence.  Please contact Lynn Strauss at 305-205-5151 for further information.  You may also contact our Temple office staff at 954-920-8225 to accept our invitation.

As valuable as these Torahs are to preserve and protect, they are even more valuable restored and read from regularly.  They must be used and cherished, or the evils of WWII will have got what they’ve always wanted – to take our religion and traditions from us.

We look forward to hearing from you soon.

Thursday 8 October 2015

Siyum for MST #655 in Sharon, MA

MST Chair Jeffrey Ohrenstein has just returned from a weekend in Sharon MA where he attended a siyum for the repair of our scroll MST #655 from Prestice, on loan to Temple Sinai for the last 26 years. Westminster Synagogue is also the holder of a scroll from Prestice,and in his role as Chair of the synagogue, Mr Ohrenstein brought MST #178 to Sharon to join 16 other New England scrolls and Sofer Kevin Hale  for a moving reunion in the Temple Sinai sanctuary.  He writes:
"...there were 18 MST Sifrei Torah and there were a lot of wet eyes in the congregation. Rabbi Meszler and his community have done an incredible job and I was privileged to take part in the siyum."
One attendee wrote:
"I have been to events at Temple Sinai for over 25 years and this was so very, very special. It was the BEST. Seeing those other 17 Torahs reunited from Czechoslovakia pre Holocaust and having our own Czech Torah restored for use by our congregation gave us chills and memories that will be forever remembered."
Mr Ohrenstein was also invited to Shabbat services at Temple Israel of Sharon, holders of MST #1029 from Prestice, and spoke to the congregation about the work of the MST. The congregation was thus motivated to begin restoration work on their scroll, and to join with the MST to develop education projects in their community.
If your congregation is interested in hosting a Scrolls Reunion for the MST scrolls in your city or state, do contact us and we shall do all we can to assist and support such a project!

Wednesday 8 July 2015

Keeping the Memory Alive

Evelyn Friedlander was interviewed last year by Andrew Miller for his university degree project on the Jews of Klatovy. We just found this copy of the interview on YouTube, and hope you will enjoy it!

Thursday 4 June 2015

Murdered Jews of Pribram Commemorated

Susan Boyer and other friends of the Memorial Scrolls Trust were present in Pribram, Czech Republic, on 3rd June for the unveiling ceremony of a memorial stone for Shoah victims from Pribram. We just received a copy of the words spoken by the mayor of the town, Jindrich Vereka:

"Dear Rabbi Sidon [Chief Rabbi, Czech Republic], dear Mrs. [Susan] Fisher Boyer, dear Mrs. [Judy] Mannaberg Goldman, dear Mrs. [Beverly] Karp, dear [200] guests:

Let me welcome you, in this rare moment, on behalf of Pribram City Hall.

We have gathered here today to honour the memory of the Jews  fallen and martyred during the Second World War.  Unfortunately, we would be hardly able to find another nation which was throughout its long history persecuted as much as the Jewish one.  Synonyms such as genocide, the Holocaust, the extermination, the Shoah, pogroms, and others accompany the nation for tens of centuries.

To say the truth, it is a miracle that despite all the centuries of persecution the Jewish nation survived.  And in today's world, it represents not only moral but also economic power, which can't be missed.  In addition it is necessary to mention the tiny percentage of Jewish people to the world population--only a quarter of one percent.  This gives reason to admire even more the deep trace left by this pious and capable nation in the annals of  mankind.

Today, at this place, we commemorate the tragic fate of the Jewish population during the Second World War, and not only of Jewish people from Pribram.  It is very sad to say that once again it was just the Jewish nation that suffered the most.  With great respect we remember, and we will always remember, the unimaginable number of 6 million lost human lives, which at that time meant more than two thirds of Europe's Jewish population.

I am really proud that just by virtue of my position as the Mayor of Pribram, I can take part in these memorial events and give a clear signal of not only my personal, but also the official, attitude to this delicate issue.

I sympathize with all killed, murdered and fallen members of the Jewish nation and express my respect to them.  We are standing here today because nothing like this could even happen again.

Thank you"

Thursday 28 May 2015

Memorial Scrolls Committee Welcomes New Members

Memorial Scrolls Committee members:  (l-r) Nick Young, Tony Yablon, Jeffrey Ohrenstein (Chair), Miles Laddie, David Lawson
Memorial Scrolls Committee members: (l-r) Nick Young, Tony Yablon, Jeffrey Ohrenstein (Chair), Miles Laddie, David Lawson
The Memorial Scrolls Committee, meeting regularly to advise the MST trustees and discuss issues connected to the Trust, has welcomed its first members drawn from communities beyond Westminster Synagogue. MST Chair Jeffrey Ohrenstein was delighted to welcome four new members to the committee, including Tony Yablon, son of the Scrolls' benefactor Ralph Yablon; and David Lawson from Kingston, Surbiton & District Synagogue, one of the most active scroll-holding communities in the United Kingdom. We look forward to working with them, and also welcome our friends Nick Young and Miles Laddie to the group.

Thursday 14 May 2015

MST Scrolls in Interesting Places

MST #803 from Vodnany is in the care of Camp Tawonga, on the doorstep of Yosemite National Park. Do send us your photos of our scrolls so we can share all the roles the scrolls play in communities across the world!