Special Sifrei Torah at Schechter Westchester
The Czech Torah
More than 30 years ago, the Memorial Scroll Trust entrusted a Czech Torah to Schechter Westchester. Our Torah scroll, known as Czech Memorial Scroll #482, was originally used by the Jewish community in the town of Milevsko in the region of Bohemia and written in 1900. The events of the Shoah left the scroll pasul (not fit for ritual use) and it is intended to remain pasul as a lasting memorial to the loss of the Shoah. Each year on Yom HaShoah (Holocaust Remembrance Day), we read the Ten Commandments from this Torah.
The Memorial Scrolls Trust, a U.K. non-profit organization, continues to share knowledge of the Czech scrolls on its website as "a repository of all knowledge concerning the 1564 scrolls, the Jewish history of the towns they came from, the Jews of those towns, their fate, survivors stories, photos etc. Also where the scrolls are now, how they are used and honoured etc."
The Rescued Polish Torah
Our second Torah was found naked and upside down in the window of a pawn shop in Warsaw by Schechter Westchester High School seniors in 2007 during their class trip to Poland. When it was found, it was damaged and missing most of Numbers and all of Deuteronomy. The students, with the help and support of the school administration, rescued the Torah. Working with sofrim - Torah scribes - in Israel, it was matched up with another incomplete Shoah scroll from Iasi, Romania and painstakingly restored to kosher status. Today, it is used regularly by Middle and High School students at Schechter Westchester and is a testament to the spirit of survival, renewal and hope.