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...

  • YMCA of Greenwich Harvest Art Week

    2014.10.18
     @ YMCA of Greenwich

    YMCA of Greenwich Harvest Art Week October 18 - 26, 2014 Join us for a week-long celebration of local art! Showcasing established and emerging...

  • Exhibit Ira BARKOFF

    2014.10.11
     @ Canfin Gallery

    “The beauty of the physical world becomes a metaphor for the capacity of the spirit to reveal itself". Ira Barkoff Evocation of...

  • 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...

  • Oktoberfest 2014 Greenwich United Way

    2014.10.24
     @ Loading Dock

    Greenwich United Way’s sixth annual “Oktoberfest” fundraiser is set for Friday, October 24 at Stamford’s Loading...

  • 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...

  • 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...

  • IMAGINE CANDY- SWEET TASTINGS!!!

    2014.10.24
     @ Imagine Candy

    Imagine Candy located in Scarsdale Village- Winner of 2014 Best West of Westchester by Westchester Magazine- holds a Belgian Chocolate and Candy...

  • Flower Power

    2014.10.08
     @ SM Home Gallery

    SM Home Gallery show featuring two Greenwich based artists: Margaret Bragg and Penny Putnam. The art show runs thorough November 22nd....

  • The Food Network Open Casting Call for Home Cooks

    2014.10.25
     @ My Cooking Party

    FOOD NETWORK’S TOP CELEBRITY CHEFS ARE SCOURING THE NATION IN SEARCH OF AMAZING HOME COOKS! You’ve watched them on TV, bought their...

  • Greenwich Hospital Gala

    2014.10.25
     @ Greenwich Country Club

    It will be a Gala worthy of a doge when retiring Greenwich Hospital president and CEO, Frank A. Corvino, will be presented with the...

  • The Wilton Fall Antiques Market

    2014.10.26
     @ Wilton High School Field House

    Barnstar Productions and the Wilton Historical Society will present the Wilton Antiques Market. More than 80 exhibitors are expected to...

  • Trunk-or-Treat For UNICEF

    2014.10.26
     @ Island Beach Parking Lot

    U.S Fund for UNICEF Greenwich Committee invites you to the 1st annual Trunk-or-Treat for UNICEF Join friends and neighbors for an afternoon of...

  • La Soirée d’ Automne at Bistro Versailles

    2014.10.27
     @ Bistro Versailles and Patisserie

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

  • Explore the Bruce Museum

    2014.10.28
     @ Stamford JCC

    Join us at the Bruce Museum for a private tour of the inaugural showing in the U.S. of “Northern Baroque Splendor: The Hohenbuchau Collection...

  • Educational Seminar - Effective Resume Writing & Interviewing Skills

    2014.10.29
     @ Greenwich Library

    Are you sure you are putting your best foot forward in your job hunt?  What will make employers pick your resume and ask you for an interview?...

  • Meet Bestselling Author Ayelet Waldman

    2014.10.30
     @ Organic Planet

    On October 30 at 10am, JCC Greenwich will present New York Times bestselling author Ayelet Waldman, who will discuss her latest novel Love and...

  • Flinn Gallery Art Opening

    2014.10.30
     @ Flinn Gallery 2nd floor

    FLINN GALLERY Opening Reception 'IN FOCUS' Thursday October 30, 6 - 8pm Seven artists share their visions - Carolyn Conrad,...

  • 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...


Show More...

Most Popular Articles

  1. Henry & Me
    Greenwich
  2. B2B Blast Off Event
    Greenwich
  3. Joie Shopping Event
    Joie Greenwich
  4. Go For Pink
    Greenwich Avenue
  5. GRTA Hunt Ball Patron Party
    Conyers Farms