Chief to attend 'scrolls' event
By Sandy Rashty, October 7, 2014
The scrolls before they were brought to Britain
Chief rabbi Ephraim Mirvis is to be the guest speaker at the opening of an exhibition about Torah scrolls which survived the Nazis, in a move which marks another departure from his predecessor Lord Sacks.
The display will mark 50 years since 1,564 scrolls were brought from Czechoslovakia to Westminster Synagogue by philanthropist Ralph Yablon.
Rabbi Mirvis said: "The Czech scrolls project is a symbol of the post-Holocaust triumph of Jewish faith."
The scrolls were sent by Jewish communities across Czechoslovakia to be held in safekeeping at the Central Jewish Museum in Prague in 1942. They survived the war and were bought from the Czech Communist government by Mr Yablon, a Westminster congregant, and brought to Britain in 1964.
Past events involving the scrolls were not attended by Lord Sacks, thought to be because Westminster is a non-Orthodox shul.
"We're delighted that Chief Rabbi Mirvis is coming - it's a recognition of our work," said Evelyn Friedlander, chair of the Memorial Scrolls Trust, which is responsible for restoring the scrolls and loaning them to communities.
She added: "The scrolls came from rural communities, which did not survive. That's why they are so important."
More than 200 people are expected to attend the launch at the Jewish Museum on December 7. The exhibition will be taken to schools and synagogues around the country. The scrolls themselves will not be on show as they are too fragile.
Last year, Rabbi Mirvis visited the Limmud educational conference, which Lord Sacks never attended.