Restoring Temple Emanuel of Greater New Haven's Holocaust Memorial Scroll

In 2019, a Torah scribe visited Temple Emanuel of Greater New Haven to inspect their Torah scrolls, provide minor repairs, and teach their students and teachers about the scribal art. In the process of his visit, Temple Emanuel discovered that while Holocaust Memorial Scroll #1178 was badly damaged, it was not beyond repair. The synagogue’s first-ever Torah scroll has been part of every bar and bat mitzvah at the synagogue from 1967 until 2007. It would take time and money, but they could reclaim this Torah scroll to continue to serve the community and share the words of Torah.

Over the last year, the Temple Emanuel community engaged in the sacred task of repairing and restoring the scroll in order to reclaim Temple Emanuel traditions and to renew their commitment to keeping the memory of the Jews of Horazdovice alive.

“As we restored this sacred scroll together, we made every effort to not just honor its long and, at times, painful history, but to also remember the joy of the community that wrote it and our community that used it over the last 50 years,” says Rabbi Michael Farbman. “Our seventh graders—inspired and supported by the Barbara Rosenthal Memorial Fund created by the Weber family—researched the Jewish community of Horazdovice’s history. They presented their findings to the community. Dozens of Temple Emanuel families had a chance to repair a letter in the Torah (with the help of a scribe). Sadly, the pandemic prevented many more families from participating in this great mitzvah in person. The siyum, or restoration process completion, had to take place on Zoom. But this Rosh Hashanah, our beloved scroll was back in the ark!”

It took the generosity and vision of Temple Emanuel’s community to make this project happen in addition to a dedicated volunteer group. In celebration of this special moment, a new set of Torah mantles was commissioned to Jeanette Kuvin Oren.

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