Hakafa's Holocaust Torah
Almost 1600 Torahs were salvaged from Czechoslovakia after the Holocaust, flown to London, and restored by The Czech Memorial Scrolls Centre of London, England. They are now on permanent loan via the Memorial Scrolls Trust to Jewish congregations throughout the world, including our Torah from Lostice, Moravia.
By holding one of these Czech Torahs (MST#753), we are a part of the Czech Torah Network, a Jewish non-profit organization dedicated to rememberance and Jewish spiritual continuity by connecting synagogues and religious institutions that have Czech Torah Scrolls.
On June 17 and 18, 2005 Rabbi Elder and members of our congregation traveled with our Holocaust Torah (MST#753) to the town of Lostice where our Torah once was a part of this town’s Jewish community. In honor of this historic occasion, synagogue benches were donated, and a commemoration of the victims of the Holocaust took place. A concert, tour of castle Bouzov, and an exhibition were presented that remembered the Jews of this area. Rabbi Elder conducted the first Torah worship in the Lostice Synagogue since the Nazi occupation.
This trip was made possible thanks to the founding member of the Respect and Tolerance Foundation, Dr. Stanton Canter from California, who during his research into the Torahs of Lostice, contacted Rabbi Elder and familiarized him with the foundation's work. Shortly after first contacts were made, the mayor of Lostice and coordinators of the Respect and Tolerance Foundation sent Hakafa an invitation to visit the town, which we gladly accepted.
In January 2014, Judith Joseph, Hakafa member and painter, calligrapher, and educator, created this beautiful Torah cover for our Holocaust Torah.
On February 9, 2014 Judith brought the Torah to London, on behalf of Hakafa, to participate in a 50th Anniversary Commemorative Service at Westminster Synagogue. Many other congregations throughout the world who are holding Czech scrolls brought them to participate in the service as well.
In August 2016, Hakafa member, Morissa Lambert, travelled with her family/friends and Rabbi Elder to Lostice with the Torah. There, Morissa became the first bat mitzvah ever to take place in Lostice.