A story that will survive


The Chief Rabbi - together with Magda Veselska, from Prague's Jewish Museum and Ruth-Anne Lenga from the Institute of Education - launched a travelling exhibition based on the story of the Czech scrolls, at the Jewish Museum in Camden.

Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis told the 80 guests at Sunday's launch that the scrolls "tell a story about persecution of Jewish communities. But they also tell a story of dedication and a story about Westminster Synagogue - and the Memorial Scrolls Trust - through which the restoration process took place. "

The exhibition - which will be on display at the West London Synagogue for the next fortnight before travelling around other synagogues, schools and institutions - tells of how the scrolls were brought to Prague by the Czech community, kept safe during the war, and then stored in a disused synagogue for 20 years after the war, until their rescue by philanthropist Ralph Yablon. It also explains how the scrolls can now be found in over 1,000 synagogues on five continents and have been used in around 100,000 bar and batmitzvah celebrations - one for every Czech Jew that died in the Holocaust.

Ms Lenga, who has created an education pack for the exhibition, said: "Studying the story of the scrolls and, ideally, by reading a bar/batmitzvah parasha from one of the scrolls, breathes new life into the scroll… the scrolls' journey will inspire, edify and empower, for the scrolls impart an enduring meaning, that of triumph in the face of adversity."

Ms Veselska said: "We are approaching the time when the Shoah survivors will no longer be with us, therefore, it is a necessity to remind not only the holders of the Czech scrolls but the general public of the original story of the scrolls."

Evelyn Friedlander, the chair of the trust, who will be standing down at the end of the year, said she was "so proud of all that the Memorial Scrolls Trust has achieved over the past 50 years".

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