Local News

Torah Scroll Traveling Home From Raleigh to Czech Republic

Posted March 28, 2008
Updated March 29, 2008

Map Marker  Find News Near Me

— A Torah scroll, the first five books of the Bible housed at a Raleigh temple, is being taken on a visit to its Czech home this weekend.

The piece of religious history, written on a 150-year-old parchment scroll, ended up at the Temple Beth Or synagogue in Raleigh during the 70s after being housed in a Prague synagogue until 1964 and then in London with thousands of scrolls rescued from Eastern Europe.

“It was sent over here (the West) with many ritual objects during the Holocaust when the Jews knew there was no hope of survival of the Jewish community in Eastern Europe,” said Rabbi Lucy Dinner of Temple Beth Or.

The Torah came from a synagogue in a village called Hermanuv-Mestec in what is now the Czech Republic.

“We consider it our sacred responsibility to care for the Torah, to use the Torah and to keep its word alive in the way that would be fitting of the Jews who died during the Holocaust,” Dinner said.

Dinner said her congregation always thought the Czech temple from which the scroll came had been destroyed, until Associate Rabbi Raachel Jurovics met a seminary student from the village.

“The synagogue was still standing – a miracle in itself it was still standing,” Dinner said.

Though only two Jews remained in Hermanuv-Mestec after the Holocaust, the village saved the synagogue. The locals even did a major restoration in 2001.

Now Dinner and other members of the Raleigh synagogue, joined by pastor of the West Raleigh Presbyterian Church, Rev. Joseph Ward, will bring scroll to the village for a 10-day visit.

It is important, Ward said “to go back in an act of reconciliation, that it should be a group not only of Jews, but also of Christians.”

After the visit, the scroll will return to Raleigh.

4 Comments

This story is closed for comments.

Oldest First
View all
  • Through a glass darkly Mar 28, 2008

    Why would a congregation NOT want to have their minister help take the Torah to the Czech Republic? I would donate in a special collection for something like that if it were someone from my congregation.

  • smitty Mar 28, 2008

    Are you kidding? The Czech Republic is a huge tourist attraction, especially Prague. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prague

  • smcallah Mar 28, 2008

    Going to the Czech Republic isn't my ideal European vacation, so I don't see your point with that.

  • smitty Mar 28, 2008

    I'm sure all of the people who donate money to Raleigh Presbyterian Church are happy to be funding their pastor's European vacation. Why is he going again?