A Symbol of Hope & Healing

Story of the Torah that survived the Holocaust



Saved from the Holocaust: Greenwich Reform Synagogue’s historic Torah

This month marks the seventy-fifth anniversary of a particularly dark time in our world’s history. And yet Greenwich is home to a symbol of triumph and perseverance. On November 9, 1938, Kristallnacht or “The Night of Broken Glass” began. It was a Nazi-sanctioned massacre of Jews throughout Germany and parts of Czechoslovakia. During Kristallnacht the contents of more than fifty synagogues along with their Torahs (sacred handwritten scrolls containing the five books of Moses) were destroyed, and the demolition of Jewish artifacts continued throughout the war. Today the Greenwich Reform Synagogue is home to one of those historic Torahs in danger of destruction.

“The Nazis aimed not only to rid the world of all Jews but every trace of our existence,” says Rabbi Andrew Sklarz of Greenwich Reform Synagogue. “The parchment of Torah scrolls often became lamp shades, or inserts for shoes, and I once saw a banjo made from the parchment of a desecrated Torah scroll,” he explains.

But the Greenwich Reform Synagogue’s Torah scribed in 1860 in Tabor, in what is today part of the Czech Republic, was destined for a different fate. In 1942 the staff at the Jewish Museum of Prague convinced the Nazis to set up the Central Jewish Museum where Jewish artifacts could be saved. It is believed the Nazis had a macabre motivation for allowing the project—after the Final Solution was complete the plan was for the museum to reopen with the name, A Museum of An Extinct Race. This collection would house the world’s last remnants of Judaism. The Greenwich Torah was one of 1,564 Torahs saved from destruction by the Central Jewish Museum.

Eventually, several decades after the war, the Torahs were transferred to London and were lent to synagogues throughout the world as a memorial to the victims of the Holocaust. Greenwich Reform Synagogue received its Torah in the 1980s.

Sklarz shares the story of the Torah at every Bar and Bat Mitzvah at the synagogue.

“Despite what Hitler tried to do we continue to thrive, we are alive, and this scroll is a testament to that,” he says.    

 

Greenwich Agenda

  • The Many Faces of Multi Media

    2014.09.20
     @ Meli-Melo of Greenwich

    Dr. Julia Trebing, Director Creative Therapies in Stamford, CT exhibits her paintings at Meli-Melo Creperie & Juice Bar  during Sept...

  • Nigh Season: New Paintings By David Konigsberg

    2014.09.13
     @ Kenise Barnes Fine Art

    Dates: September 13 – October 31, 2014 Opening Reception: September 13, 6 – 8:30 PM  Public Invited   NIGH...

  • Undulate: Paintings By Julie Gross and Margaret Neill

    2014.09.13
     @ Kenise Barnes Fine Art

    GALLERY II Dates: September 13 – October 31, 2014 Opening Reception: September 13, 6 – 8:30 PM Public Invited...

  • "Israel and the U.S."

    2014.09.22
     @ New Canaan Library

    The public is invited to attend a World Affairs Forum Great Decisions event featuring Seth Anziska, Columbia University. Mr. Anziska will speak...

  • Parties at the JCC Center

    2014.09.02
     @ Stamford JCC

    A place to celebrate birthdays and special occasions. Be a guest at your own party! The JCC offers a wonderful space for you and your guests to...

  • Holistic Health Practitioner Kevin W. Reese

    2014.09.24
     @ Meli-Melo

    Meet Holistic Health Practitioner Kevin W. Reese & Take Home a Signed Copy of His New Book! Kevin is a holistic health practitioner,...

  • Annual State of the Town Address and Luncheon | Greenwich, CT

    2014.09.25
     @ Milbrook Club

    Greenwich Chamber of Commerce Annual State of the Town Address and Luncheon will be held at Milbrook Club. Registration 11:30am; start at...

  • Greenwich Harbor Sunset Wine Cruise | Greenwich, CT

    2014.06.05
     @ Delamar Hotel Dock

    The boat "Prudence" departs from the Delamar Hotel Dock on 500 Steamboat Rd. All the wine is sponsored through VALS with food...

  • Verismo - Opera Arias and Ensembles

    2014.09.26
     @ Round Hill Community Church

    Music from the Heart at Round Hill  “Verismo – Arias and Ensembles,” an opera concert, will bring drama and passion...

  • Aaron Henry Trunk Show & Personal Appearance

    2014.09.26
     @ Richards

  • Curiosity Concerts Season Opening: SONIC ESCAPE

    2014.09.27
     @ Greenwich Library Cole Auditorium

    The Greenwich Arts Council's Curiosity Concerts opens its second season of free classical music concerts for families on Saturday, Sept. 27,...

  • SM&NC Farm Market

    2014.06.15
     @ Stamford Museum & Nature Center

    Sundays, June 15 – October 5, 10am – 2pm We're thrilled to bring back the SM&NC Farm Market — now on Sundays!...

  • Bistro Versailles Wine Dinner

    2014.09.29
     @ Bistro Versailles

    Wine dinners at Bistro Versailles are entertaining social events held on a regular basis. Socialize with friends and mingle with other...

  • Joie Special Shopping Event

    2014.09.30
     @ Joie

    Joie invites you to a special shopping event! Enjoy wine & hor d'oeuvres while shopping 20% off your purchase Enter to win a...

  • SPLURGE Matches Scarf Donations for Cancer Patients

    2014.10.01
     @ SPLURGE

    SPLURGE and the Cancer Institute at Greenwich Hospital are partnering to bring comfort and encouragement to cancer patients.  From October...

  • Breast Cancer Alliance's Go For Pink Shopping Event

    2014.10.02
     @ Greenwich Avenue area

    Breast Cancer Alliance announced that it is partnering with Greenwich merchants for a special day of events and shopping on Thursday, October 2nd...

  • Laurel House Family Seminar Series

    2014.09.18
     @ Laurel House

    Thursday evenings, September 18, October 2, 16, 30, 6:30-8:00 pm Join us Thursday evenings for this four part Family Seminar Series as...

  • Muddy Up 5k Adventure Run & Family Fun Walk

    2014.10.05
     @ Camp Simmons

    Are you ready for some MUDDY fun? Boys & Girls Club of Greenwich is proud to host the 3rd annual Muddy Up 5k Adventure Run & Family Fun...


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