The Westminster Synagogue Czech Scrolls Committee was formed in 2008 to look into the history of the two Torah scrolls that we have on loan from the Memorial Scrolls Trust, one from Horažd’ovice and the other from Přeštice. We undertook to find out as much as we could about the communities from which the scrolls had come, in terms of Jewish life there, so that we could have some real sense of who it is we say kaddish for each year at our special service of commemoration. The scrolls are the silent survivors of a rich past.
The activities of the Westminster Synagogue Scrolls Committee have included the following:
- Annual Commemorative Memorial Services to honour the lost communities of Horažd’ovice and Přeštice.
- Published booklets showing facts and photos from the lost communities, based on thorough research. These have been appreciated by Jews living in Israel, in America and elsewhere as well as non-Jews living in the towns concerned who were glad to have a gap filled in their appreciation of their own past. To download the booklet on the community of Horažd’ovice, click here. To download the booklet on the community of Přeštice, click here.
- Organised community visits to the towns of Horažd’ovice and Přestice which have been recorded in words, pictures and on film.
- Raised funds to facilitate the laying of Stolpersteine in Horažd’ovice, which are commemorative stones set in the pavement outside the homes of former Jewish residents. The first stones were laid in 2014 and the second set were put in place in August 2015.
- Raised awareness of the Czech Scrolls among the young people and families of our community. This has included enabling our B’nei Mitzvah students to read from one of our Czech Scrolls on their Bar/Bat Mitzvah, training our teenagers to be tour guides for our Czech Scrolls Museum, and organising regular visits for students from all of our learning programmes to the museum.
If you are interested in learning more about this committee, please contact the Synagogue Office.