1564 scrolls belonging to hundreds of Jewish communities that were destroyed by the Nazis were retrieved in the 1960s from a disused synagogue in Prague.
These scrolls were taken to Westminster synagogue in London, where they were restored. The scrolls that were beyond repair were kept to form part of a new museum, based at the synagogue. The remainder were distributed to progressive synagogues in Britain and throughout the world.
Brighton and Hove Progressive Synagogue is the proud guardian of scroll number 1278, which originally belonged to the Jewish community of Frydek-Mistek. We commemorate our Czech scroll at different times of the year. In particular, on Shabbat Shuvah, the Sabbath between Rosh Ha-Shanah and Yom Kippur , because the Jewish community of Frydek-Mistek was deported by the Nazis in 1942 at that sacred season, and during the seven weeks of the counting of the Omer, which commence on the second day of the Festival of Pesach. During the Omer period we read from our Czech scroll each Shabbat.
This is the prayer we recite before reading from our Czech scroll:
As we count the days between Pesach and Shavuot, between spring and the early summer harvest, between Egypt and Sinai, a time of uncertainty and danger throughout our people’s history, we recall the Jewish community of Frydek-Mistek that was destroyed by the Nazis.
As we read from this scroll that was once read by the Jews of Frydek-Mistek, we pledge ourselves to honour their memory by re-dedicating ourselves to the sacred tasks of developing the life of this congregation and contributing to the renewal of the Jewish people.
Kein y’hi ratzon – May this be our will. And let us say: Amen.
Rabbi Elizabeth Tikvah Sarah