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

  • Cool and Collected ‘14

    2014.07.10
     @ Kenise Barnes Fine Art

    (Gallery 1) Featuring artists:  Carla Goldberg, Melanie Kozol, Francis Sills, and Eve Stockton Summer exhibition at Kenise Barnes...

  • Wine Time Social Hour

    2014.08.29
     @ Barcelona Wine Bar

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  • TREEHOUSES: Look Who's Living in the Trees!

    2014.06.21
     @ Stamford Museum & Nature Center

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  • Exhibit: Tales of Two Cities: New York & Beijing | Greenwich, CT

    2014.05.03
     @ Bruce Museum

    May 3 – August 31, 2014 Tales of Two Cities: New York & Beijing This exhibition focuses on two of the world’s leading...

  • Seaside Center: Arts and Crafts

    2014.07.18
     @ Seaside Center

    Let your creativity float free! Practice the art of Gyotaku fish prints; make a sundial, a shell wind chime, or fish bowl! Activities vary every...

  • Vals Free Weekly In-Store Wine Tasting | Greenwich, CT

    2014.05.09
     @ Val's Putnam Wine And Liquors

    Each Friday we feature new wines just released and new to market for you to have an opportunity to taste and learn about through our sponsored...

  • Wine Time Social Hour | Greenwich, CT

    2014.01.27
     @ Barcelona Greenwich

    $4.00 select wines, $4.00 well drinks, and $3.00 beers.

  • Happy Hour | Greenwich, CT

    2014.01.26
     @ Morello Italian Bistro

    Refresh yourself with our famous Red & White Sangria! Don’t forget that during happy hour every day 4:30pm-6:30pm your 2nd drink...

  • Saturday Vals Free Weekly In-Store Wine Tasting | Greenwich, CT

    2014.05.10
     @ Val's Putnam Wine And Liquors

    We will feature an array of new and different International wines that are selected by our staff as “Staff Picks Favorites” in...

  • Polo Benefit for Hope

    2014.08.31
     @ Greenwich Polo Club

    For the second year in a row, Virginia's House of Hope is having a fundraiser at the Greenwich Polo Club! Join us on Sunday, August...

  • 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!...

  • Animal Meet and Greet

    2014.06.22
     @ Stamford Museum & Nature Center

    Sundays, June 22 - August 31, 3:30 - 4:00pm Stop by for a chance to meet one of our Overbrook Nature Center or Heckscher Farm animals up...

  • Bar: Live Music | Greenwich, CT

    2014.03.09
     @ Barcelona Greenwich

    Join us in Greenwich every Sunday for live music and half-priced bottles of wine!

  • Greenwich Harbor Sunset Wine Cruise | Greenwich, CT

    2014.06.05
     @ Delamar Hotel Dock

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  • Exclusive Tour of Modern and Contemporary Art at the Yale University Art Gallery

    2014.09.09
     @ Yale University Art Gallery

    Join JCC Greenwich for an exclusive tour with museum curator Elizabeth Manekin. The collection is noteworthy for exemplary works from the...

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     @ Greenwich Library, Cole Auditorium

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  • Bruce Museum: Look and See - Into the Deep

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  • College Admissions Boot Camp | Greenwich, CT

    2014.09.13

    College Prep 360 will be offering two college admissions “boot camps” in their Greenwich office over the summer. The first workshop...


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