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Donors Give Holocaust Scrolls a New Home

03/31/2021 06:01:38 AM



Thanks to two generous Temple Beth El member families, TBE is now the home of two Torah scrolls seized by the Nazis from synagogues throughout Czechoslovakia. The legacies of these scrolls are a reminder of our connection to the Holocaust.

When Aron Ross, father of TBE member Josh Ross, learned about the London-based Memorial Scrolls Trust, which matches these Torah scrolls to synagogues and other organizations, he knew he wanted to honor the memory of his family’s Holocaust victims and pay tribute to the Holocaust experience endured by so many. He began the process of helping TBE acquire a scroll in honor of his grandsons’ b’nai mitzvah (Sammy’s bar mitzvah was in fall 2019, and Jayden’s was in March 2021). Aron spoke movingly to Jayden during his bar mitzvah, telling his grandson that the rescued scroll was “a reminder of your strong, resilient, and powerful roots.”

Ruth and Russ Frank, whose donation helped bring an additional scroll to TBE, found deep meaning in the mission of the Memorial Scrolls Trust. “My parents are Holocaust survivors and knew Rabbi Swarsensky in Berlin. Russ and I hope that these rescued scrolls will be another way for all of us at TBE to not forget the 6 million, which included my grandparents, aunts, and uncles,” Ruth explained.

Generous donations, such as those made by the Frank and Ross families, support the ongoing work of the Trust. These funds allow the Trust to house, preserve, and distribute the scrolls. Donor support also goes toward the Trust’s creation and maintenance of an educational archive to promote and preserve the memory of Czech Jewish life.

Led by Rabbi Biatch, the TBE Memorial Scrolls Task Force (on which Josh Ross and Ruth Frank both serve) had the opportunity to view photos of numerous scrolls and choose those suitable for a new life at TBE. In early March, Rabbi Biatch traveled to New Jersey, where the scrolls were temporarily stored, and brought them back to Madison in time for Jayden Ross’s bar mitzvah.

We hope to plan a ceremony to officially welcome the scrolls to Temple Beth El, where our community will embrace them for safekeeping. We are very grateful to the Ross and Frank families for giving TBE the opportunity to honor these links to what has been lost and symbols of all that has endured.

April 21, 2021 9 Iyar 5781