Temple Beth Sholom of Miami Beach is a reform congregation with deep and abiding roots in Jewish tradition. Our goal is to offer incomparable hospitality to all who join us in worship. We affirm our love for God, Torah and the Jewish people in everything that we do and everything that we believe in. We respect and honor the past and find renewed energy in the honored rituals and prayer services of the Jewish community. We also find great meaning and pride in new approaches toward prayer, music, life cycle events and all aspects of our congregant’s experiences. We follow the teaching of Rabbi Abraham Isaac HaKohen Kook who instructed us to make the old, new and the new, holy.
Temple Beth Sholom Holocaust Torah
(Memorial Scroll Trust #256)
Temple Beth Sholom is honored to have received a Torah from the Memorial Scrolls Trust in London. This Torah was “saved” after the Holocaust and is now a valuable addition to our Torah collection. There is no accurate description of exactly where the Torah originates from but we do know the region. With regards to the provenance of MST#256, but according to the Jewish Museum in Prague, our scroll remains an Orphan from an unknown town in Bohemia and Moravia.
We read from this special Torah twice during the year. The first time is on Yom Kippur afternoon and the second is during our Annual Confirmation Service. For more information on the Memorial Trust, please click here.
In 1942, curators in the Central Jewish Museum in Prague, working under desperate conditions, sent out a call to the Jews in the regions of Bohemia and Moravia, Czechoslovakia, to send their Judaica and artifacts to the museum for safe keeping. The community who sent these items to the museum must have hoped that the treasures would be protected and one day be returned to their original homes. The curators, however, “must have suspected that they were inheriting the legacy of the dead…their work became an act of spiritual resistance.”[i] They thought they were saving Judaism by saving the scrolls from plunder and destruction.
Under Nazi supervision, collating under near impossible conditions, everything was catalogued meticulously. Every scroll was labelled in Czech and German, giving the name of the community and congregation from which it came. All of the museum’s curators and cataloguers were eventually transported to Terezin and Auschwitz, with only one survivor. After the defeat of the Nazis, the scrolls remained in the disused Michle Synagogue, near Prague, for twenty years, until the communists, desperate for money, stumbled across them. The scrolls were not theirs to sell, but that hardly mattered. A philanthropist, Ralph Yablon, brought them to London. Some were damaged by fire, water, nibbled by rodents, rotten, torn – a grim testimony to the fate of the people who had once prayed with them. Inside one was a note: “Please God help us in these troubled times.”
Of the 1,564 scrolls, 216 lost their tags somewhere along their way, and cannot be traced to any community. They became known as orphan scrolls.