We all have enduring reminders of our ancestors whether in the form of stories, songs, ritual objects, art, or memories. I have 3 sisters, and we all have an heirloom or two, but mine is extraordinarily special. My grandmother gave me my great grandmother’s Shabbat candlesticks that were brought over from Russia when she came to settle in America.
Usually when I light the Shabbat candles in these candlesticks, I don’t always think of the story that these candlesticks hold. But in the last month, with the rise of anti-Semitism, the 85th anniversary of Kristallnacht, and the war in Israel- I cling to their story, and I feel grateful these precious candlesticks are in my home.
We are blessed as a congregation to have our Temple Judea Museum, and our Curator/Director Rita Rosen Poley and her volunteer congregant team. Together they present to us and illuminate art, ritual objects and memory that we hold in our home, that live in our community. KI is home to four Holocaust Torah scrolls that each have a story of being ripped from their homes by the Nazis during World War II. Two of our scrolls are the Westminster Scrolls Number 1035 from the Pinkas Synagogue in Prague and Number 1363 from Pizen.
An organization called the Memorial Scroll Trust helped us obtain our Westminster scrolls. Tonight at 7:00 p.m. at Rodeph Shalom to honor the 60th anniversary of the Memorial Scroll Trust (MST), the organization that helped save these Torahs. Our Torah will join together with other Torahs rescued subsequent to the Holocaust, from congregations in Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Delaware in a Hakafot (Torah processional) during this gathering. For more information, visit rodephshalom.org/events/memorial-scrolls-trust-gathering/
We will also commemorate Kristallnacht at our Shabbat service at 7:00 p.m. on Friday, November 10th in song and with a sermon tribute. Our scrolls live in our arks in the sanctuary and the chapel, and we will remember our great loss then and now, and we will also celebrate that these Torahs are home with us continuing to give us strength and fortitude in this very challenging time for us as a people
I encourage you to come to our Shabbat services to feel at home with our community, with our stories, and with our sacred objects that continue to tell the stories of our past- a story of hope and courage and faith and blessing.