Our story is starting to see a lot of traction in the media in various forms, so I thought I would use this space to capture some of the press mentions. If you find others, please let me know!
A Radio interview in Czech featuring our friend from Olomouc Petr Papousek
In Czech…IDNES is the largest online/hard copy circulation Czech paper
The rare Torah from the burned synagogue returned to Olomouc after 78 years
October 24, 2017
Seventy-eight years later, the sacred Torah scroll from the end of the 19th century has returned to Olomouc. The local Jewish community used it until the burning of the Olomouc synagogue at the beginning of the Nazi occupation in 1939. After the war, the Communists sold the scroll with hundreds of others abroad.
More about our friend Peter Briess, an Olomouc survivor
Some cool photos at the bottom of the page of the Olomouc Exhibition opening. I’m in a few of them in the crowd, front row left (purple shirt) 😉
A nice history of the Olomouc synagogue building on the Kehilah web site.
The Synagogue and Prayer Rooms
How 1,564 Torah Scrolls Miraculously Survived the Nazis and the Communists
This article has a nice mention of our Olomouc story at the end.
Featuring Peter Breiss.
We made the big time in the Israeli Press. I wonder if we got picked up in any other publications? On Su day there was a JTA Reporter from Warsaw present, I was told.
Without getting into all the details, the story was well written and got most of the facts and color right though they did misidentify PSC sort of. The reporter identified us as “Hatzi-Ha-ee Sinai” which is technically correct because “Hatzi-Ha-ee” does mean “Peninsula” in Hebrew but there were also other transliterations like for “United Airlines“. I don’t get it!
In a related posting, the Masorati (Conservative Movement in Israel) posted the following to their FB Page
מרגש! בבית הכנסת קונסרבטיבי בסן פרנסיסקו שמרו במשך שנים על ספר תורה עתיק מהכפר אוֹלוֹמוּץ שבצ׳כיה, אחרי שהוברח ממנה במהלך השואה. לאחרונה גדלה הקהילה בכפר הצ’כי, ואלו ביקשו מהקהילה האמריקאית את ספר התורה. קהילת “חצי האי סיני” שם נשמר ספר התורה תיקנה אותו ורב הקהילה המסורתית, נסע להשיב את ספר התורה למשכנו המקורי. חברת “יונייטד” סייעה בהעברת ספר התורה, והושיבה את ספר התורה במושב משלו- עם כרטיס עליה למטוס משלו “Torah”.
Peninsula Sinai Congregation
Translated it reads:
A Conservative Synagogue on San Francisco took care of an ancient Torah Scroll from the town of Olomouc. in the Czech Republic after it was smuggled out during the Holocaust. Soon the Czech Congregation grew and asked the American Conservative Torah Scroll (back). Congregation “Half an Island Sinai” (yeah I know that sounds weird but they took the Hebrew idiom for “Peninsula” and used that rather than transliterating “Peninsula”) that watched over the scroll and repaired it and the Rabbi of the COnservative Congregation traveled to return the scroll to it’s original home. United assisted in the transfer of the Torah, placed the scroll in its own seat and with a boarding pass that read Torah/Torah.
This one appeared a few days before the trip and gave some color as to what to expect in Olomouc before we got there.
From the Czech News Agency from a few weeks ago (Thanks Jeff Blutinger and Weslaw)
10/9/17 Czech News Agency 00:00:00
Czech News Agency
Copyright (c) 2017 CZECH News Agency
October 9, 2017
California synagogue returning Torah scroll to Czech Olomouc
A parchment scroll of Torah dating from 1880 will be returned to Olomouc’s prayer room as a permanent loan from the Jewish community in Foster City, California, at the end of October, Petr Papousek, chairman of Olomouc’s Jewish community, has told CTK.
It will be the first Torah returned out of the 1,500 Bohemian and Moravian scrolls that are stored outside the Czech Republic nowadays, Papousek said.
The scroll will be festively installed in the Jewish prayer room on the occasion of the Jewish Culture Days in Olomouc on October 22.
“The return of the Torah to Olomouc is a historic event not only for Olomouc’s Jewish community, but also for the town,” Papousek said.
The scroll had to be restored and the writing had to be repaired professionally. The last letters will be finished just before the scroll’s festive delivery into the prayer room, he added.
After Olomouc’s synagogue was set ablaze at night on March 15, 1939, it was pulled down. The scrolls were gathered in the emerging Central Jewish Museum in Prague at first.
During the turbulent post-WWII period, the museum was nationalised and the scrolls were moved to a former synagogue in Prague’s Michle neighbourhood.
In 1963, under the Communist regime, the torahs from Michle and other scrolls, a total of 1,564 pieces, were sold to the congregation of the Westminster Synagogue in London, which established the Memorial Scrolls Trust to preserve and restore them.
The trust lends them to Jewish congregations across the world, particularly to the USA.
The Jewish Culture Days are to take place on October 19-29 and will include an exhibition on the vanished Olomouc synagogue, an international conference on changes in the life of Jews, a theatre performance and a lecture by Israeli photographer Yosaif Cohain among other events.
This year, the Jewish Culture Days are dedicated to the 120th anniversary of the consecration of the Olomouc synagogue and the 150th anniversary of the birth of Berthol Oppenheim, the town’s rabbi who was murdered in the Treblinka wartime extermination camp.
More from IDNES The Czech Republic’s largest daily online and print circulation newspaper.
Of course most everyone saw Vic Lee on the ABC 7 Local News the day we took off from SFO. My friend Greg Cecil said he saw a version of this story on his local newscast in Columbia, MO but not sure if it got picked up nationally on ABC or other TV outlets? Any sightings people?
Random sighting in the UK Press makes me famous on two continents! 😉
Nice picture of all of us on the plane to Frankfurt. United really rolled out the red carpet for us. Thanks Michael Hayat, and Andrea Hiller from United PR!
How’s your Czech? This is from The Czech Republic’s largest circulation daily. I tried to find a hard copy in Prague and in Olomouc but I struck out. Apparently this is partly online and partly print copy. This appeared in the Olomouc version of IDNES.
Just gotta throw this one in as a ROTFL moment from one of our Flight Tracker groupies, Michael Hayat (we had several, to be fair but this was the best and nearly gave Doron and I a spit-take at 37K feet over Manitoba! Good one Michael! 😁
I would be remiss if I didn’t mention our PSC Go Fund Me campaign that helped to make the Torah repairs possible in the first place. Thank you Donors!
A little back to the future action from 1970 when the scrolls were originally brought to PSC from from London and the Scrolls Trust.
From the “Burlingame Advance-Star” (anyone remember that paper?) from April 7, 1970 featuring founding PSC Member Mel Bloom Z’L (Jayne Bloom and his widow who sent me copies of these stories.) Jayne and Mel carried both Czech scrolls to California from the Westminster Synagogue in London in 1970. Our synagogue was just 2 years old at the time and meeting in San Mateo. This helps fill in a couple of holes in the story!
Our own J weekly got the ball rolling on the coverage and I’m told they were very excited to cover it! Thanks Dan Pine, News Editor of the J!
About the Olomouc Museum Exhibit we viewed last week in Olomouc.
Another random mention.
Rabbi Corey gets a shout out in his hometown Kansas City newspaper. Mazel Tov!
Another follow on story from IDNES, the largest online daily in the Czech Republic. Plug in to Google Translate to get a serviceable translation. Mostly focusing on Sunday’s dedication ceremonies.
From Olomouc’s Jewish Paper Chayenu
Sorry for the truncated, rough English. Blame Google Translate 😁
This is our life – HEM CHAJEJNU 18 Review Bulletin 22 23 Our Life Volume 9 / Number X. List of the Jewish Communities Olomouc November 2017 On Sunday, 2nd day of the month of the Cheshvan of 5778, corresponding on 22 October 2017, with We will be blessed, we, the Jewish community of Olomouc, hereby accept our Torah, registered by the Memorial Scrolls Trust in London, England under number # 740. In cooperation with this organization, the Peninsula Sinai community, Foster City, California, and Sofer on site, Miami, Florida, we celebrate this historic moment of returning our Torah back to its place of origin. Let this moment consecrate memories of the members of the Jewish community in Olomouc who are no longer among us, those who built this community and all those who died in Shoah. Let the light of this Torah, inspired by our ancestors’ links, shine ever brighter and may make our community elevated and show us the way to the future. By accepting this Torah scroll, we, the Jewish community in Olomouc, we accept the commandments and traditions embodied in our Torah. We and all of our community will strive to continue in Jewish life as those who profess: Šema Jisrael Ado-Elo-hejno Ado-nej Echad! By completing this Torah scroll, we connect to the traditional exclamation: Chazak, chazak, venitchazek! Let the glory of the legacy of our past strengthen our present efforts so that we can bravely walk towards the future
Very personal – very personal! Impossible to become a Reality Impossible to become a reality, I would briefly describe the return of the Olomouc scroll of the Torah to the Motherhood. When I began to correspond with the Westminster Synagogue and the Memorial Scrolls Trust more than two years ago, I only hoped that my intention would succeed. But I thought it would be a pity to strike back the return of our “Torah” scroll when I found out where it was. This, which only a few members of our ZOO believed, turned out to be a tangible act. It was a series of emails, phone calls and personal meetings with Jeffrey Ohrenstein in London and New York, regardless of my costs. When I did everything “pre-cooked”, I joined Petra Papouška as the boss of our ZOO who made this difficult task to the winning end. I believe that not only we, but also our descendants and followers, will use this scroll of the Torah and will never leave Olo-mouk again. I can be proud of the fact that the scroll of the Torah, which has seen my grandparents, father and other relatives on a regular basis in today’s magnificent synagogue today, will continue to radiate the importance of the past with today and the tomorrow of our village. Roman Gronsky I was perhaps the only one who went to the former synagogue … … Peter Briesse said, who had come to welcome the Olomouc scroll of the Torah from the United States. “It was very, very moving. After all, I went to the synagogue even when the scroll was used in it … I was when, in 1938/39, the Rabbi Oppenheim read this Torah. I was a seven-year-old boy. For me, it is especially important that this Torah returns to Olomouc. I welcome her at home and I wish this commune many years of happiness, safety and success. “Amen. Let us add that in the Olomouc synagogue they had the wedding of Peter Briesse’s parents. Their wedding ceremony was held in the Olomouc Synagogue on June 29, 1929. In 1931, his parents, Hans Briess and Else Schulhof, the son of Peter (see photograph here) and in 1936 Hana’s daughter. On the occasion of their wedding, Berlold Oppenheim, a former rabbi from Olomouc, wrote a letter to the bride Else, who has Peter Briess in his archive. And since these days we are commemorating both the Anniversary of the dedication of the Olomouc Synagogue and the anniversary of the birth of Rabbi Oppenheim, let us introduce here the second part of Oppenheim’s letter (the whole text of the letter with further information can be found in Chajejn 2012/11), the bride, this time in translation Mrs. Hany Mayer: Letter to the Bride “As a rabbi, I give you a prayer book, as a memorial to this festive moment, for the 90th birthday of my dear mother, and for the special recognition of the charitable action of your highly respected and honorable father whose life in the field of genuine Jewish love for neighbors and charity in favor of those affected by poverty and oppression, be also a pre-order for your house. Let your house be the source of Jewish faith, Jewish spirit and Jewish love for your neighbor. Let your father’s merit be God’s blessing for your path of life and the foundation of your continual happiness. Let the prayers of this book in which you turn to the Almighty always be prayers of praise and thanksgiving for the nothingness-disturbed happiness that you will experience with the man of your choice. This is my wish and my prayer. Dr. B. Openheimer Rabbi Rabbi Moshe Druin, the driver who corrected the olo-moss scroll on the occasion of the Torah’s deposition in Aaron ha-kodesh, said this: I am very honored to have repaired this Torah and that I may be the messenger of the Jewish people. But we all know that the Torah without people does not mean anything. But the Jewish nation without the Torah … does not even know anything. B-h, the Jews and the Torah are single. Jeffrey Ohrenstein Memorial Scroll Trust London “In 1964, 1564 Torah sculptures were bought from the Czech Communist Government and transported to London, where our Memorial Scroll Trust was founded to care for them. Until then, these scrolls lay in an inappropriate, damp synagogue where their condition has continued to deteriorate. And no doubt if you do
Very personal – very personal! were not saved at that time, many of them would be lost. It is an incredible honor and joy that we can bring this Torah back to Olomouc. “Page 5 I do not often happen to you … I wish you long luck and joy with this Torah that came to you. My lady had tears in my eyes … said Daniel Meron, Ambassador of the State of Israel to the Czech Republic. His wife’s family, Mrs. Jill, has its roots in Olomouc. “As an Ambassador of the State of Israel, I consider my duty to participate in similar events of Jewish life here. Rabbi Moshe Druin finished the Torah scroll on Sunday morning, and I, along with others, had the honor to take part in it. “The second Simchat Tora Steve Lipman, a member of the American congregation of Peninsula Sinai who accompanied the Torah to Olomouc, noted this festive moment on his blog: “The Torah came to the synagogue from the back in the hands of Rabbi Helfanda. Our Torah, Torah Memorial Scroll Trust and now: The Olomouc Torah. Her hands were stretched to touch her, she was carried several times around the womb (Olomouc practice is orthodox). Then she was placed in the vault, where she would wait until Sunday, for the last corrections of the last letters from the driver Mosheo Druin. Torah scroll written in 1880, a scroll that survived the Nazi persecution, which nearly destroyed the Jewish communities in this country. A scroll that has survived Communist persecution. Svitek, who had been honored in our Aaron Ha-Kodesh for 47 years, and from whom I had the honor to read before he became righteously unfit and needed repair. The Svitk, which was transported by 9,000 km by plane, by train, by car … was now returned to his original home to remain there for good. Let’s think about it … and realize: It has never happened before! “When the Torah was finished I was crying. And this is not happening to me often, “said Petr Papoušek, chairman of the Jewish community in Olomouc. “I hope that the return of this Torah scroll will bring new energy and enthusiasm for our village.” Peter Briess, on the left, on completing the letter of the Olomouc scroll together with rabbi Moshe Druin, who has returned our kosher status to his Torah by his work. Upon completing the correction of individual letters, he had a story about the meaning of the letter and the word that was repaired for everyone. This only deepened the intimacy and personal dimension that the Torah-rite had in our village. Thank you! At the top you can see a certificate that was nominally received by anyone who attended this ceremony. There is a box for the name, but also for a letter that has been fixed.
Very personal – very personal! Mrs. Dreiseitl (second from left) when writing the Torah. From left K. Jurečková from Prague, from Mrs. Sidon’s right My experiences of the Torah Torah – how simple the word for uninitiated. But for us who know what this word means, it is something extraordinary. In our village, after eighty years, the Torah returned from California … It was a long journey, but thanks to Mr Gronsky and our President, Mr. Papoušek, he managed to get the Torah back. It started for me on Friday Sabbath worship and a common sitting at a gala dinner. The premises of our Municipality have already been pervaded by something strange – expectation, tension. At the end of the liturgy, our Torah was brought to the chapel for the singing and applause of all those present. On Sunday after the morning worship, the preparations for Torah correspondence began. Of all the present I felt some internal tension. I myself felt something indescribable … it was luck and joy of something unrepeatable. I have to admit that I kept thinking of all those who could not be present, but trust me, I tried to feel the special atmosphere of their souls as well. In my imagination, I saw that my grandfather, who was involved in the preparation of refreshments for so many people, touched this scroll. Perhaps they had to sleep there. It’s all your big thanks to you. You did not make it easy, but you knew how to deal with it and you managed it to one. Once again, I thank you all, and if the amazing atmosphere you have created remains in the memories of most of you present, then believe that your efforts are worth the effort. Hana Dreiseitlová Alois Wellner 1898 – 1966, Coming from seven children, grew up in a religion-based family. In Olomouc he married Anna Schubrt, and in 1926 the only daughter of Alice, my mother, was born to them. In the war years he was imprisoned and finished in Terezin. After the war he was redeemed for the reconstruction of the Jewish community in Olomouc. From my mother I know he taught both religion and Hebrew and also taught R. Daniel Mayer in the Torah Hachnasat sefer Tor in Olomouc On Sunday, October 22, at the invitation of the Chairman of the Olomouc Philosophical Orthodox Church, Mr. Petr Papoušek, attended an exceptional festival of the Torah scroll aron hakodeše in ŽOO prayer. Of course, everyone present at this unique festivities among members of the Olomouc or other Jewish communities in the Czech Republic, as well as precious guests from the USA, Israel and Switzerland, all rejoiced at the reality bordering on the miracle that the scroll of the Torah, which had been deposited since 1880 in the aron ha-codes of the Olomouc Synagogue, which was destroyed by the Nazis in 1939 and subsequently demolished, returned to its home village after a long and adventurous journey. For me, Alois Wellner, the great-grandson of the chairman of the FBI in Olomouc in 1913-18, Friedrich Fischer and his wife Bertha, born Briess. When writing these lines I still have a strange feeling. This experience will remain in my memory for a lifetime. The very moment that I, the inordinate member of the Oracle, had a letter to the Torah, was happy for me. However, behind this act was the enormous efforts of Mr Gronsky and Mr Papoušek, which I have already appointed, but also efforts at home. I have the most beautiful memories. When he lived here, I was looking forward to learning when I came to school … Later he worked in Olomouc as a cantor. He died on September 23, 1966, on the eve of Jom Kipur when he worshiped his heart when he was singing – it was a heavy heart attack. Although he was immediately assisted by two doctors present, one of them was Mr. Gronsky’s father, they were unable to revive their grandfather. He was a very good man, and I will never forget him. From the memories of Hana Dreiseitlová’s granddaughter The owner of the malted house in Friedrich Friedrich Friedrich Fischel managed the affairs of the Olomouc village from 1913 to 1918, and from 1908 to 1918 he also worked in the city council
Very personal – very personal! February 2011: I am introduced to a woman who is a granddaughter of the Jewish woman from Olomouc. We married a year and a half. And during the next four years we became the parents of four children, the next generation of descendants of the Jewish community from Olomouc. August 2015: I received an email from the synagogue, in which I got a question about the Torah scroll from Olomouc. From Olomouc?!? From the city that my wife visited and about which she so much told me? I immediately sent an email to a woman in which I wrote to her that the Torah, from which I read in the synagogue for more than twenty years, is the Torah to which our children’s grandfather and other ancestors were called. I wondered how meaningful and beautiful it would be for our children to have an aliy (invocation) to the same Torah in our own synagogue. We immediately shared this news with our cousin Olo-mouci, Mr. Roman Gronsky. I later found out that he was the first to address the Memorial Scroll Trust in the Lon-Pump on the possible return of the Torah to Olomouc. But for a long time neither of us knew he was his distant cousin, whose synagogue is holding this scroll. October 2017: I am honored to be part of an unforeseen and unexpected event of returning this scroll to his rightful home. I am honored to have added the script to this scroll … to lead the way for so many new friends … and that I can witness the birth of the brotherly relationship between the rightful owner of this scroll and the community that years adopto-vala: Congregation Peninsula Sinai. And if all this can not be characterized as “basser”, what else? Siman tov u’mazel tov! Doron Shapira, Cantor Doron Shapira’s wife, Mrs. Jocelyn, also wrote several personal lines about our Jewish community, Hachnasat Sefer Tora and her Olomouc baths: When I grew up, I always had my grandmother Lisa Karpfen very close relationship. Her grandmother worked hard, she was successful, she was also warm and liked to laugh – more than most others. But when I, or anyone else in our family, asked her about her life in Europe, she said almost nothing. It was quite obvious that in her past there was immense pain and sadness. But she decided to live every day with joy and kindness. In 2007, I traveled to Olomouc with the hope of learning more about my grandmother’s journey and about our family history. This journey was very meaningful. A few years later, I decided to make my Bat Micva as an adult. Since then I have been running a kip and talit in the synagogue. Wearing chips and waist is a source of reassurance and pride for me, combining a traditional tradition with a modern act. As a Jew and as a mother I want my children to know the story of their family and where they come from, sorrow and joy. I try to be a good example for my children, and I hope they will know the story of their grandmother Lisa, her hometown, and that it will inspire them to live a proud Jewish life. And one more thing: Our daughter Jael is named after Lise Karpfen. Her full name is Jael Aliza Shapira – Aliza in honor of Lisa Karpfen Gruner. Lisa is no longer between us – she died when she was waiting for Jael in the winter of 2014. She was 100 years old. Jocelyn Shapira has a great personal emotional meaning. It is very probable that just before this developed Torah scroll, my father celebrated his bar micva in 1936 in a magnificent olo-mouk synagogue. By casting the scroll of the holy Torah into the aron of the horseshoe in the prayer church of Olomouc, Kora-glory returned to its original dignified place: הנשויל הרטע הרזח All those who have earned it, thank me and my whole family. Rabbi Daniel Mayer This is basher! (It is bashert!) The congressman of Peninsula Sinai from the USA, Mr. Doron Shapira, sent us the following lines. Na-depsal is “This is Basher”, creating a difficult-to-translate word game, closely related to the content of his text. The word “bashert” comes from Yiddish and originally known as much fate, a higher power that determines the course of human life. But then it began to be used to designate “allied souls,” most often in the search for a life partner, when the search to find a baser means so much to find a precursor ideal partner:
Peninsula Sinai on the way to Olomouc I. As Chajjn reads, the Olomouc scroll of the Torah for decades has been used by the US Conservative Congregation Peninsula Sinai of Forster City, USA. This Jewish community willingly agreed to return the coil and, in addition, funded its repair. Finally, she sent a group of its members headed by Rabbi Corey Helfand and Cantor Doron Shapiri, who had escorted them so intimately. There was a bond of friendship and fellowship between the two Jewish communities based on the shared joy of the Torah. That’s why we want to bring this community closer to the readers. Rabbi C. Helfand has sent us some basic information about the history and life of his community: Our Congregation (Jewish Community) was founded in December 1967 and we built our synagogue in 1979. We are a conservative (masorti) community and therefore egalitarian that is, they practice the so-called egalitarian minian, which also includes women, note editors). Our community center was built in three stages. The educational part, consisting of four classrooms, a kitchen and a library, was put into operation in 1979. In the second phase, a prayer hall, a common room and an office were built. It was in 1984. In May 2000, a major rebuilding was completed, which today includes a prayer room, other classrooms and social spaces and new offices, a library and a professional kitchen. At present, our congregation is made up of 325 families, and every week we meet regularly to celebrate Shabbat (worship on Friday evening and Saturday morning). Besides, I have a mini-drink a week in the morning and a week in the evening. Rabbi Corey Helfand came to the Sinai Peninsula in August 2011. He also includes clergymen of the Congregation, Doron Shapira, who also serves as a senior community worker. She is also rabbi Rebecca Schatz (rabbi assistant and educator). Emeritus rabbi is then Marvin Goodman. LECH LECHA! Rabbi C. Helfand, after his return from the Czech Republic, spoke to Lech Lech on the sabbath of Lech Lech, in which he connected the message of this section of the Torah with reflection and also a report on the journey to Olomouc. That is why we bring you the most important of his remarkable text. The words of Lech lecha are translated as “Exit!” Rabbi Sidon chooses the other translation: “Go away!” But the meaning is still the same, it is the call of Avram to quit Heaven, the first Jew. “Rabbi David Peter says this is a three-fold exit: to leave his city, his house and ultimately his father (family), and three levels of path to each other, three basic” abandonment “or” “Without which one can not become himself. As you can see, there are many different meanings behind these words and hence we will leave them in their Hebrew text: LECH LECHA! It was a real “Lecha lecha” experience. I felt a little like Abraham, who was called to do the job, and he did not know what it was going to take. I wonder what Abraham’s head went to when B-h wanted to leave his country, his birthplace and his family. He set out for a trip whose unknown destination was unknown. Would he go on a journey if he knew what to expect? Would he be able to become the first Lord to enter the sacred relationship with the Lord? I think there is no way we can prepare for Lech Lecha for the moment. Honestly, I really did not know what to expect from this trip to Olomouc. In part, I wanted to put together all the “Lech lecha” moments that made it possible for this journey to take place. And the first moment came in January 2016 when I received an email from J. Ohrenstein from the Memorial Scroll Trust (MST) that revived the history of the two Torah scrolls in our Congregation:
Dear Sir, I hope you do not mind turning to the unusual situation that has arisen. After visiting our museum of Czech scrolls Tór by a visitor from Olomouc, Roman Gronský, I received a letter from the chairman of this village who examined the possibility of borrowing this Torah in the Olomouc village … Shortly thereafter, the President of MST received a letter from Petr Papoušek, Chairman of the Federation of Jewish Communities and President of Olomouc Municipality, in which he wrote: … Now we are working on obtaining a new or usable (kosher) Torah, because we own only one and that is in an unsatisfactory condition. It would be very satisfactory for us to receive one of the scrolls from which our ancestors read in Olomouc … our community has 164 members, we hold shabba celebrations regularly, we keep the kosher worship kitchen attended by 30 – 45 participants … Unbelievable! In Olomouc there are still Jews who keep the Sabbath, kosher and read from the Torah? Abraham’s journey began because he could freely choose to leave one place to another. But the Nazis had only one way for us: the way of death without return. The realization of this trip to Olomouc meant that the Nazis eventually failed! Our journey with the Olomouc scroll thus began with the new “Lech lecha”, which should never have happened: to connect our congregation, the Olomouc village, MST, Petra Papouška and Roman Gronsky. It was as if the B-h and the Jewish people once again found one another and we could hear each other: “Lech lecha!” Continuation in the December issue of Chajejn Redactively curtailed, a translation from English by J.A.K. Web: http://www.peninsulasinai.org
The Olomouc Torah and the Days of Jewish Culture in Olomouc On Sunday, October 22, Olomouc returned the Torah scroll, which was used for the last time in church service almost 80 years ago. It was the first time one of more than 1500 Torus returned to its place of origin. The return of the Torah to Olomouc has become a historic event not only for our communities and not only for the city of Olomouc. This information was reported by both domestic and foreign media. This Torah presentation was framed by the Days of the Jewish Olomouc dedicated to the 120th anniversary of the dedication of the Olomouc Synagogue and the 150th anniversary of the birth of rabbi Berthold Oppenheim. In addition, several academics from Israel who had lectured at CJS or at other Palacky University Departments met in Olomouc these days. They were prof. Zvi Zohar, Eli Lederhendler and Yosaif Cohain. Last but not least, Mr. Ephraim Karol Sidon and his lady were present. It is no wonder, therefore, that not all and everything came to this issue. So, let us take a leniency and try to bring at least the most important ones on the following pages. THE DAYS OF JEWISH CULTURE DAYS The days of Jewish culture in Olomouc were commenced on Thursday 19th October in the Archdiocesan Museum with the opening ceremony of the Olomouc Synagogue from 1897 to 1939. The photo below is a completely filled hall where MUO Director Michal Soukup welcomes the participants. The exhibition itself has two parts. The first is the architecture of the synagogue itself and the work of architect Jakob Gartner, and the second opening ceremony of the exhibition culminated in the show of Cantor’s Songs. Prague Cantor Michael Duschinsky sang Sabbath and festive prayers. He accompanied the musical performance with a basic interpretation. Transformations of Jewish Life: Moravian Jews at the Turn of the 19th and 20th Centuries On Friday, October 20th, an international conference was organized by the UPOL Judicial Studies Center. It offered a wider view of the Jewish history of Olomouc and Moravia since the second half of the 19th century. Her individual contributions did not avoid conflicts, conflict of tradition and secular culture, or intellectual exchange between Moravia and Galicia. The theme was also focused on both commemorated anniversaries: both the initiation of the synagogue and the birth of Rabbi Oppenheim. There were contributions such as “Jewish Family History in Olomouc of the 19th Century” (Luise Hecht), “The Jewish Associations in Olomouc and the Breakthrough of their Membership at the Turn of the 19th and 20th Centuries” or “The Jewish Wedding in Premiere Olomouc / Margin of the Wedding Sermon Rabbi Abraham Neuda “(Daniel Soukup). The outcome of the conference will be a professional collection, but we will try to bring to Chaijn’s readers the most interesting information on the pages of the magazine. The photo below is dr. Marie Crhová, main conference organizer, Dieter and Luise Hecht, lecturer. On the following days, we continued another rich program of Džko, which we brought to you in the special issue of Chajina dedicated to our Torah. The members of Tomáš and David Hrbka and Daniel Soukup also actively participated in this program. One of the program’s points was a lecture by an Israeli photographer and
Olomouc’s Torah and the Days of Jewish Culture in Olomouc Letting the Letter in the Torah scroll is not just an honor, it’s a lot more: “Those who hold the pen with the helper have the honor to take part in the Torah repair and filing. He fulfills one of the commandments, which in the Jewish tradition impose on everyone the obligation to write or write the Torah. “It is no wonder, therefore, that the candidates were many. This ceremony, which lasted for over two hours, was intertwined by those who participated in it and had something to say. Part of these projections can be found on pages 4-7. Finally, chairman of the Memorial Scroll Trust from England, Jeffrey Ohrenstein, handed the Torah scroll to the chairman of the Jewish community of Olomouc, Petr Papoušek. Then, the Olomouc Torah was carried into the synagogue for a polyphonic singing in a ceremonial procession. The melody was alternating there, and the Torah was passed between the men who rode in her ceremonial carriage in a procession that had traversed the interior of the synagogue. Everyone wanted to touch at least the scroll and our prayer pulled back like no longer. The completely filled synagogue thus surrendered the honor of the Torah, who, thanks to the efforts of many, returned home. This moment of belonging was also picked up by Moshe Druin in his bold speech, when he invited the singer to sing the song Hine ma tov (see the bottom left). The Torah Shroud, which started on a 9,000-kilometer-long trip to Olomouc, was “home”, in Aron Ha-Kodeš Olomouc. Hopefully, we will often pull it out to read it. Cha-zak, chazak, venitchazek! דַחַי םַּּ םיִחָא תֶבֶשׁ םיִעָנּ הַמוּ בוֹט הַמ הֵנִּה Hine ma tov u-ma na’im ševet achim gam achad What good is the goodness of where the brethren dwell in a hurry
From this week’s J Weekly.
Sofer On-site links to my blog and the, JWeekly Story on SOS’s home page.
Taube Philanthropies established a matching grant to help us repair the Olomouc Torah Scroll.
Another article in Czech.
Someone posted the Twitter feed of the Israeli Ambassador to the Czech Republic.
We made the big time in United Airlines Hemispheres Magazine in the December issue. Check out page 14!
And there was this heartwarming story from Jenny and Corey’s hometown Dallas Newspaper.
Doron and Jocelyn were initially interviewed in September before the trip and it includes recollections by Peter Breiss, a pre-war resident of Olomouc who came back specially for the event from London.
Good memories from our friends in Olomouc. Idnes is the largest daily circulation online (and print) publication in the Czech Republic.
Some more pre-trip coverage:
“The Czech Republic will obtain from the Jewish congregation Peninsula Sinai Congregation from the California city Foster City, which lies near San Francisco.
It’s a historical milestone. It will be the first time that one of the Czech scrolls returns permanently back to the Czech Republic.”
IDNES is the largest online circulation paper in the Czech Republic
A rare Torah from the late 19th century will return to Olomouc after decades. In March 1939, the local synagogue burned down, which Nazis served as a pretext for its demolition. In the past 78 years, the sacred scroll was wandering around the world, from Prague to London and California after the communist sale…
The sacred scroll ended first in Prague as well as another thousand parchments from Czech and Moravian Jewish communities. The Nazis are sváželi here with other sacral objects to the just-emerging central Jewish Museum.
Apparently after the war, however, Olomouc Torah lost. The museum liturgical needs continued disperse renewed Jewish communities, but things have not often returned to their original places…
It is probably the first permanent return of the Disappeared Torah to the Czech Republic
He is convinced that this is a historical event not only for the Jewish community, but also for the whole of Olomouc. In addition, it is the first Torah in the Czech Republic, which returns from abroad to its original place after the war.
“Several times different foreign communities arrived in the Czech Republic for a few days with their Torah, which had a similar destiny as the Olomouc. But, according to my information, this is the first time that such Torah is coming back permanently and will be used by the same community as before the war, which is symbolic, “he stresses.
The ceremonial return of Torah to the seat of the Olomouc Jewish community is scheduled for Sunday, 22. October.
“It had to be restored her background and a professional scribe-soferem-professionally repaired font. The last letters will be written immediately before the ceremonial by Torah to prayer rooms,