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Yom Hashoah Candle
Our Holocaust Torah Scroll

Alt Neu Shul in Prague.  Photos courtesy of Eric Babat

Neil Yerman is a sofer, a scribe who is trained to do the holy work of writing and repairing Torah scrolls. He helped to restore our Holocaust scroll, thanks to the generosity of the Shotland family. 

Our scroll once lived in the
Alt Neu Shul in Prague (pictured left). Prior to World War II, the Nazis confiscated it, along with hundreds of scrolls with the idea of creating a museum to a destroyed people. When that dark period in our people's history came to an end, the scrolls were discovered languishing in a warehouse by some U.S. soldiers. They were sent to London, England where, upon the creation of the Memorial Scrolls Trust they were sent to over 1,000 congregations worldwide. 

Ours was received in the early 1970's. Since that time, it became our custom for our B'nei Mitzvah to read from it when they are called to the Torah on their special Shabbat.  

The Rededication of Our Shoah (Holocaust) Scroll Cover

At Shabbat Services on Friday April 24, 2015, Holocaust survivors Betty Knoop and Chuck Shotland shared their stories with our congregation.

Our fellow congregant Betty Knoop grew up in Amsterdam. On April 10, 1945 she was put on a cattle wagon that went east for two weeks from Bergen-Belson into East Germany. On April 23, 1945 she was liberated by the Russians. While her mother was liberated with her, she died the night of the 25th, dying with the knowledge that at least she too was liberated. Betty had never spoken about the train ride, nor the moment of liberation until this evening.

As a young boy, Chuck Shotland and his mother made their way from Prague to Amsterdam. There they caught the last Red Cross plane to England. While Chuck and his mother escaped, the rest of his family remained trapped by the jaws of the Nazi machine. Over the past few years, the green cover to our Shoah (Holocaust) scroll had become threadbare and beyond restoration. At the same time, through regular wear and tear, the scroll itself had become worn. Through the generosity of the Knoop and Shotland families, the scroll was restored and a new cover created. At this service, we rededicated this scroll and dressed it in a new cover (pictured right), thanks to their generosity. How powerful to do so on the 70th anniversary of one's liberation.Click below to listen to their stories, which have now weaved themselves into the fabric of our congregation in a very tangible way. 

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