Our Holocaust Torah – A New Mantle

Create a beautiful mantle for our scroll to use it throughout the year

The recent Teitelbaum Lecture featured an extraordinary film called An Article of Hope. Many themes wove together – but one story that emerged was the story of a Torah taken to space by the astronaut Ilan Ramon that was smuggled out of Auschwitz.  Ilan tragically died as the shuttle exploded during re-entry earth following the mission, but the story of the Torah symbolizing the going from the depths of despair during the Holocaust to the heavens in the shuttle survived.

The film shared the incredible story of how the Torah was smuggled out of the Auschwitz by Professor Yehoyachin Yosef, who promised his Rabbi that he would tell the story of the Torah.  The movie reminded me of the importance of memory and telling our story.  It lifted up the resilience of the Jewish people and symbolized how holding onto Torah allows us to survive.

The symbolism of an item is powerful.

We have a similar item at CBJ – a Torah that came from the town of Vlasim.  It is one of the Torahs from the Memorial Scroll Trust – Torahs that were collected into a Jewish Museum during World War II, which ultimately ended up in London.  Read the story of these scrolls at the website  https://memorialscrollstrust.org.

This spring we had an extraordinary speaker Lois Roman, who told us about the thousands of Torah shared with Jewish communities around the world and specifically about the Torah from Vlasim that we display in the entrance to the Beit Tefillah.  To be entrusted with this scroll is a privilege which reminds us – like the Torah Ilan Ramon took into space – that we must tell the story.  Typically we use the scroll on Yom Kippur and Yom HaShoah.   Occasionally a Bar or Bat Mitzvah with a connection to the Holocaust will ask to use the Torah during the ceremony.  Every time we open the scroll the hear the crackling of the parchment and chant from the sacred words we feel the memories of those no longer with us.

During the talk, Lois shared how different congregations come together with their Torahs each year to share stories and celebrate the scrolls from this collection.  This keeps alive the memories and stories of the communities from which the Torahs came. We learned that many communities use the Torah throughout the year and observed that several of the Torahs had beautiful mantles.

This inspired me to want to create a beautiful mantle for our scroll and to use it throughout the year as well.   We have commissioned the new mantle with the extraordinary artist who designed the mantles in the Beit Tefillah.  It will be unique, but its design will match those Torahs. The mantle will have the single word Zachor – Remember – written across the front.   I know this Torah and mantle will continue to inspire for years to come.

I am asking if you would like to donate for the cost of the mantle.  Everyone who donates will be acknowledged at a service of dedication.  Donate however much you feel comfortable giving – there is no minimum expectation.  Anything above the cost of the mantle will be used for the ongoing upkeep of our Torahs.

Suggested donation amounts: $54 | $108 | $540 | $1080
Please donate on our website to the Holocaust Torah Mantle Fund: https://bethjacobrwc.org/donate/