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Memorial Torah Scrolls

The Czech Scrolls in the Care of Temple Kol Tikvah

Temple Kol Tikvah cares for Two Czech Torah Scrolls recovered from the travails of history by the Memorial Scrolls Trust.  Sefer Torah #470 comes from Domazlice and was lent to Kol Tikvah in 1968. Sefer Torah #449 comes from Brno and was lent to Kol Tikvah in 1983.  These Torahs have journeyed through history having gone from the loving embrace of their Jewish communities, into the cruel hands of Nazis and then Communists, and then back into the safety of the Jewish community through the work of the Memorial Scrolls Trust. 

 At Temple Kol Tikvah, we have five Torah Scrolls.  The Czech scrolls are not on special display because they function as working Torah scrolls.  Our ark is designed in such a way that the Torahs are always seen.  Our Holocaust Torahs reside on the far right and far left of the ark, standing as two protective elders.  One is dressed in red and the other is dressed in black. When holding either of them, a congregant feels the weight of history. 

 At the end of our religious school services, our children honor the Torahs by kissing their hands and then placing their hands on the Torahs.  It is a Kol Tikvah goal to break down the wall between the Torah and our community members.  Every chance available, our children hold scrolls while their classmates shower affection upon them.  Holding the Torah is not a foreign idea to a Kol Tikvah student, it is a part of their life.


The night prior to a child's bar or bat mitzvah, we present the child with a Torah to take home.  It is a symbolic reenactment of a past where Jews have had to flee their homes, leaving behind family and friends, to start again with only their faith as represented by the Torah. In our ritual, the child and the parents stand before the rabbi in a darkened sanctuary with the only light coming from the ark and the Ner Tamid.  The rabbi explains that each generation has a responsibility to protect both the physical Torah and the ideas the Torah embodies, and each generation must interpret the Torah in such a way that Judaism remains vibrant. The Holocaust Torahs watch over this process, always remaining in the sanctuary. 

We are honored to have these two Torahs at Kol Tikvah as reminders of our history and a symbol of Jewish resiliency.

For more information on the Memorial Scrolls Trust go to

Below, you’ll find a short educational video produced by Rabbi Jon Hanish on our Brno scroll as well as an edited conversation between Rabbi Jon Hanish the Director of the Memorial Scrolls Trust, Jeffrey Ohrenstein.


Fri, June 14 2024 8 Sivan 5784