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sefer torah di Slany1Our magnificent Czech Torah Scroll MST#823 originates from the Bohemian town of Slany about 30km north of Prague. This Sefer Torah is one of 1564 which constituted part of the treasures from the Jewish communities of Bohemia and Moravia that miraculously survived the Shoah in Prague.

Thanks to the generosity of Mr Ralph Yablon, the Sefer Torah were purchased from the Czechoslovak Government and brought to the Westminster Synagogue in London, where they arrived on the 7th February 1964.   The Memorial Scrolls Trust was set up to care for the scrolls and have distributed most of them to Jewish congregations around the world,  to be memorials to the Shoah, and to spread light as harbingers of future brotherhood on earth. The MST has retained a permanent collection at their Czech Memorial Scrolls Museum, together with over 400 scroll binders, which receives visitors from all over the world.

A Jewish community settled in Slany sporadically during the 14th and 15th centuries until in 1458, Jews were expelled from the town. A small Jewish community re-established in the first half of the 19th century, with 207 Jews in 1880. 81 Jewish residents of Slany were deported to Theresienstadt in 1942 and later dispatched to and murdered in Treblinka, Izbica, Trawnicki and Auschwitz. No Jews returned home after the war.

A Jewish community built the synagogue in 1865. The synagogue had two parts – the entire house of prayer and a two-story residential section used by the rabbi. The synagogue was decorated with a massive facade with Tablets of Moses.

After the war, the city archives were in the building before it was transformed into a police station. The police commemorate the Jewish history of the building with a small Israeli flag.

città ceca di Slany1

                       città ceca di Slany2

Our Czech Memorial Torah, which we received in 1973, is some 200 years old and one of our largest and heaviest Torah scrolls. It is kept in the Aron Hakodesh of the main Synagogue resplendent in Meil, Keter and Rimonim and, given its substantial weight, used exclusively for Jom Kippur and Simchat Torah together with the other Torahs. A brass plaque which testifies to its origin is attached to one of the rollers.

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