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April 06, 1990 - Image 18

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1990-04-06

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

DETROIT

Shir Shalom Renovates
Holocaust Torah

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KIMBERLY LIFTON

Staff Writer

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20 FRIDAY, APRIL 6, 1990

DAILY 10-5:30
THURS. 10-7
SAT. 10-3

ORCHESTRA

from
KLEZMER
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Help us keep winning.

or $5,000, you can buy
the book of Exodus at
Temple Shir Shalom..
The cost of the Ten Com-
mandments, however, is just
$3,500.
Members of the temple
figure these prices are
bargains for the product — a
Torah from Czechoslovakia
that was destroyed by the
Nazis during World War IL
Patrons can help restore the
Torah to its original state by
buying letters for $18, words
for $36, verses for $100,
Biblical names for $72,
Torah portions for $300 or
the entire Torah for $15,000.
Through this fund-raising
drive, the temple hopes to
secure enough money — an
estimated $20,000 —to cover
the cost of its restoration.
The Torah will be be used as
a memorial to the Six Mill-
ion Holocaust victims.
"While many temples and
synagogues have memorial
Torahs from the Holocaust,
no one in this area has at-
tempted to restore one to its
previous intact state," said
temple spokesman Dr. Nor-
man Lynn. "The time and
cost factor for such an under-
taking is far greater than
having a scribe make a
Torah from scratch."
The project is expected to
take a year to complete.
The 250-year-old Torah
suffers extensive damage,
parts of it muted and other
parts waterlogged. Dr. Lynn
said the Torah survived
unbelievable odds.
The Torah, from Kolin,
Czechoslovakia, was sent to
Shir Shalom two months ago
from the Westminster Syn-
agogue in London, where it
had been stored since 1964.
Kolin is a small town 30
miles east of Prague. Before
WWII, it had the second
largest Jewish population in
Czechoslovakia.
The Kolin synagogue to-
day stands empty; it has not
been used since June 1942,
when the last Jews left
Kolin, which boasted a Jew-
ish history dating back to
1347.
Nazis took all religious
symbols and articles from
the Kolin Synagogue, bring-
ing them to Prague. They
were to be placed in "The
Central Museum of the Ex-
tinct Jewish Race."
While waiting for the mu-
seum to be built, the Nazis

dumped the artifacts and
Torahs on the floors of syn-
agogues of Prague. These
synagogues now are used as
warehouses.
Some 1,500 Torahs re-
mained on the floors of
Prague's empty synagogues
for 20 years, until Jews from
the Western nations pleaded
for their release. Some were
spattered with blood. One
contained a piece of paper,
saying, "Please, God, help us
in these troubled times."
"By restoring it to its sefer
Torah condition, we give the
scholars who wrote it and
the people who read it over
the years, a place in our
hearts, in our minds and in
our souls," Dr. Lynn said. "In
short, with this Torah, we
become as one with the peo-
ple of Kolin, Czechoslo-
vakia. CD

Rabbi Cohen At
Seminary Weekend

"Who Is A Jew? Who Was A
Jew? Intermarriage and Con-
version lb Judaism: An
Historical Perspective" will
be the topic of Rabbi Shaye
Cohen at 8 p.m. April 20 at

Rabbi Cohen:

Historical scholar.

Congregation Beth Abraham
Hind Moses.
On April 21, a Shabbat lun-
cheon and teach-in will be
held at 1 p.m. At 7:30 p.m.
there will be a Seudah
Shlisheet. The weekend is
sponsored by the Jewish
Theological Seminary of
America and by Jack and
Miriam Shenkman
Rabbi Cohen is dean of the
graduate school at the Jewish
Theological Seminary. He is
the professor of the Jack and
Miriam Shenkman Chair of
Post-Biblical Foundations of
Western Civilization, and pro-
fessor of Jewish history at the
Seminary.

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