February 2022: President’s Message

Our religious history is as much of our present as it is our past. As you know, the Torah scroll is the center of our religious beliefs.    The most important fact about our Torah scrolls is that every one is identical in that they all have 304,805 letters in 79,976 words in 5,844 verses.

Today the standard column has 42 lines, but in the past, there are scrolls with 36 to 60 lines. Although all the scrolls are made of parchment, they can be of different kosher animals and of various qualities. One of the most important variations in the Torah scrolls is the calligraphy, which from examining together with the parchment, experts can usually tell where and when it was written. We have been fortunate, due to the efforts of Les Faiman, to have on loan a Memorial Scroll from the Memorial Trust.

In a brave effort to subvert Nazi annihilation, workers in the Jewish Museum in Prague rescued 1,564 scrolls from destruction in 1942. Handled gently, meticulously restored, and painstakingly preserved, these scrolls stand as a remarkable tribute to the Jewish ability to survive, revive and regenerate. Although many Jewish lives were lost, the continuation of Jewish culture, tradition, and memory lives on through the preservation of these Czech scrolls. Temple Beth Sholom is fortunate to be one of 1,000 synagogues throughout the world to house a Czech scroll. Their presence encourages us to engage with our own Judaism, recognize and confront hatred in our own society, and continue our story to future generations.

Our Czech Torah is from Louny, Bohemia. We are now in the process of researching the building of a case to house this special Torah, so we can display it. This Torah is a reminder of all who came before us. Hopefully, we will have a distinct opportunity, to pick a date in the near future to say Kaddish for all those for which there was no one to say it for them. Anyone interested in furthering this endeavor, please contact me at Presiden@tbsHamden.com

       “Our Memorial Scroll is a memory of the past and a messenger for the future”