Here at Ohev Shalom, we have a scroll that survived the Holocaust. Many people refer to it as our Holocaust Torah Scroll, though lately we've been trying to rename it the Loštice Torah, because it came to us from the town of Loštice in
It never occurred to me, quite honestly, because the scroll was in such bad shape. Where other damaged scrolls might sometimes require up to $5,000 worth of repairs, the Loštice Torah was evaluated closer to $20,000! It's well beyond our means, so I simply assumed we could never read from it. Except then I made contact with Rabbi Bruce Elder, whose congregation, Hakafa, in Glencoe, IL, also cares for a scroll from the same town in Czechoslovakia. And in Rabbi Elder's (Reform)
Like many things in Judaism, it isn't a simple question, and it certainly does not have an obvious answer. Jewish law tells us "no," we cannot read from it. But our hearts
Photos in this blog post:
2. Image of the synagogue of Loštice courtesy of respectandtolerance.com
3. Image of congregants from Hakafa in Glencoe, IL, reading from the Torah IN Loštice, during a congrational trip to the Czech Republic, courtesy of Congregation Hakafa
4. Image of the Ark in our Main Sanctuary, with the Loštice Torah (and its black Torah mantle) in the center.