Check out this YouTube Video (fixing the Olomouc Scroll) of me sitting with the Sofer, Rabbi Moshe Druin, who will be accompanying us to Olomouc to complete the repairs on this Sefer Torah and will also be helping us write a new one over the next year.
What an honor this was. Our synagogue in Foster City has been housing in safekeeping this ~200-year-old scroll from the Czech town of Olomouc for 47 years. I’ve had the honor of reading from this scroll on Shabbat and chagim. The scroll was looted by the Nazis 78 years ago, one of 1564 scrolls from Jewish communities across Czechoslovakia.
The Westminster Synagogue Scrolls Trust acquired the scrolls in 1963 and parceled them out to Jewish Communities all over the world. Our synagogue has 2, one from Olomouc and one from another town called Ceske Budejovice.
A couple of years ago, the Trust was contacted by the reconstituted community of Olomouc asking for their scroll back. Let that sink in for a moment. A community destroyed by the Nazis, looted of its treasures, and that somehow survived the Nazis and Communism, comes alive again and tracks down part of its precious legacy. And our shul is part of this.
Add to this another strange coincidence that our Cantor’s wife has ancestors from Olomouc!
I hope to be privileged to go in October as a shaliach from our community to escort this scroll home to Olomouc.
Got goose bumps yet? Wow! What a story!