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THE HISTORY OF OUR SCROLLS

Scroll #1
Holocaust SCROLL

Blue Mantle (right side)

Our very first scroll was a Holocaust Torah acquired in the 1980s from the Memorial Scrolls Trust located in London, England. The Memorial Scrolls Trust has distributed over 1,000 Holocaust Torot, rescued from the ravages of World War II and then housed in Westminster Synagogue, also in England. These scrolls are all from Jewish communities in Bohemia, Moravia, and Slovakia that were destroyed and looted by the Nazis.

 

Inscribed around 1800, our scroll, known as Sefer Torah #1268, is from a village in Bohemia (now the western half of the Czech Republic) called Kostelec nad Labem. During the war, this scroll was buried in the ground for safekeeping. One of our long-time members and past presidents, Marilyn Nusbaum (ז״ל), made its Holocaust-themed blue velvet mantle. Although its parchment is badly damaged and we do not chant from it, we sometimes remove this Torah from the ark during B mitzvah “twinning ceremonies,” when one of our young adults chooses to honor a child who perished in the Holocaust before ever having had his or her own bar or bat mitzvah.

 

On the wall in our sanctuary hangs a certificate authenticating the history of CKS’ first Torah rescued from Kostelec nad Labem. At the end of a rather lengthy inscription, it says that our Holocaust Torah and others like it serve as “permanent memorials to the martyrs from whose synagogues they came… and… spread light as harbingers of future brotherhood on earth; and all of them bear witness to the glory of the holy Name.”

 

 

Left: Congregant Mike Arons carries our first Holocaust scroll at the reunion of Czech scrolls in NYC, Feb 2019.

Right: Certificate of Authenticity hanging in our sanctuary
Click either image to enlarge

 

Scroll #2

Maroon Mantle (Center)

Dr. Art Steinberg, a CKS past president, acquired our second Torah from a synagogue that closed outside of Philadelphia. 

 


We at CKS feel blessed to be the keepers of these sacred scrolls. 

 

Scroll #3
HOLOCAUST SCROLL

Red Mantle (Left side)

Our third Torah (and second Holocaust Torah) was acquired in 1991 from Shaare Tikvah (Gates of Hope), a Vineland, NJ synagogue that closed in 1986. Shaare Tikvah was established by German and Austrian Holocaust survivors that settled as poultry farmers in the South Vineland area as early as 1946.

 

This Torah scroll had been rescued from a synagogue that was burning near Aachen, Germany during Kristallnacht (November 9, 1938). It was eventually brought to the mostly-orthodox NJ farming congregation. 

 

Synagogue attendance in Vineland began to decline in the late 1970s, and most of the religious articles were donated to the Alliance Synagogue in Elmer, NJ (formerly called Tifereth Israel).

 

When there were no men remaining for a minyan at Shaare Tikvah, the surviving women decided that Barbara Lehman, a founding family daughter and a Kohen, should receive the Fromm-Halberstadt Torah and its silver accessories. Barbara brought that Torah to JCCBM (CKS) where we are honored to continue using it. Barbara remains a congregant of CKS to this day.

 

Kristallnacht is the “Night of Broken Glass,” during which hundreds of synagogues and other Jewish properties across Germany were burned and looted and many Jews were murdered. It is considered the official beginning of the Nazi Holocaust. 

 

Shaare Tikvah ("Iowa Street Shul")
830 Iowa Street, Vineland, NJ
(1956 - 1990s)

 

Thu, February 29 2024 20 Adar I 5784