Stories that connect us - From the celebrations of our 60th anniversary year, to our book 1564 Scrolls A legacy of Jewish Life in Bohemia and Moravia, to our scroll gatherings, and our Scroll Towns

MST Newsletter Winter 2024

Our 60th anniversary year

Dear Friends

Welcome to our 37th newsletter. 

Welcome to our 37th newsletter. 

I write to you from Buenos Aires, Argentina, where 3 Argentinian Scroll Holder communities have celebrated the 60th anniversary of the Czech Scrolls arriving in London. Our thanks to  the Museo de Holocausto that hosted the event. It has world class audio-visual and inter-active displays and does amazing outreach receiving visits from up to 6 schools a day.

On 4th February, over 200 people gathered at the Westminster Synagogue to mark the 60th anniversary of the saving of 1564 Czech scrolls by Ralph Yablon z”l, their arrival at the Westminster Synagogue in London and the creation of the Memorial Scrolls Trust. 

On 6th February I flew to Israel with Andrew Keene of WUPJ, taking two kosher Torah scrolls, one a Czech Memorial Scroll.  MST#1404 is for Beit Shmuel in Jerusalem, and MST#8009, a scroll of Israeli origin, for Kehilat Sha’ar Hanegev, a Reform consortium of communities, who are currently being given refuge at Kibbutz Shefayim.

On 22nd February I flew to Phoenix where the Arizona Jewish Historical Society hosted 24 scrolls and scroll holder communities in their service of celebration.This was the second event I attended in Phoenix the first being in 2015 just after being appointed Chairman of MST

At the beginning of April I return  to the USA for what is expected to be one of  our largest ever Scroll Gatherings - with up to 80 scrolls and 800 people participating on April 7th at Temple Emanuel, New York

From New York I shall be flying to Los Angeles for scroll-gatherings at Adat Elohim, Thousand Oaks on 12th April and Beth Tikvah, Fullerton on the 14th.

When you re called to the Bima to read your parsha from a Czech Sefer Torah you fulfil the hopes of Czech Jews that their Sifrei Torah would survive and be used in meaningful ways. 

Once again we are experiencing a tragic time in Jewish history, with so many turning their backs on us. The death of any innocent is tragic, we hope and pray for the speedy and safe  return of all those kidnapped, as well as peace in our times.

Several Scroll Gatherings celebrating our 60th anniversary year have already taken place and more will take place throughout the year.  We are very grateful to the communities that are holding them and all those who participate. Listed below are more 60th anniversary events, and hope that you and your community can join us across the world in 2024.

Book gift for B'nei Mitzvah and other occasions

The best way for your B’nei Mitzvah and others to learn about the scrolls is to read our book.  They make an excellent  and very reasonably priced gift and are also suitable for sale in shops, when ordered in packs of 10.  We encourage you to place your order for your gift books, at the special price.

Jeffrey Ohrenstein,


Westminster Synagogue 60th anniversary service

(L-R) Rabbi Kamila Kopřivová, Ph.D, Rabbi Benji Stanley

Photos Louise Morris

Sunday 5th February saw the culmination of a year of planning when representatives from scroll holder communities processed into a packed Westminster Synagogue with 42 Czech Memorial Scrolls. The service was led by Rabbi Benji Stanley, senior rabbi, assisted by Rabbi Kamila Kopřivová. You can read the Service booklet here. Dale Bluestein video'ed the service on behalf of Westminster Synagogue, and you can watch here. MST was able to temporarily loan Czech Torah Scrolls to members of Scroll Holder communities whose Czech Torahs are too fragile to travel.

MST was delighted to mark the start of our 60th anniversary year by celebrating Rabbi Kamila's smicha at Westminster Synagogue last September.

A particular highlight for MST staff was to listen to Sofrim  Kevin Hale, Marc Michaels, and Avila Barclay

Philippa Barnard was present when the Czech Scrolls were carried in to Kent House on 5th February 1964. Recently she was interviewed by BBC World Service for her memories of that very special day. 

Cllr Selina Short, accompanying Cllr Patricia McAllister, Lord Mayor of Westminster.

MST was delighted to host 9 museum tour groups over the celebration period, with the largest group over 35 people. Our 90 minute tour is bookable for your next London visit by emailing

Our oldest and youngest scroll carriers. Jeffrey Ohrenstein read from a Czech Memorial Scroll at his second Bar Mitzvah at 83, last year. His grand daughter Lydia read from a Czech Memorial Scroll at her Bat Mitzvah a few weeks ago.

PS We publish many short articles and Czech Scroll Museum visitor pictures on our Facebook page - please click Facebook Like to keep in touch with us.

Please subscribe to MST's general Newsletter here.

The link to subscribe to the Ostrava newsletter is here.


Israel - delivering our Scrolls

Israel - finding our Scrolls

In 1965, the Memorial Scrolls Trust came to an agreement with the Israel Ministry of Religion to allocate to them 50 Sefer Torahs which they would then allocate to Orthodox and Reform communities across Israel, notifying MST of the allocated communities. We still hope someday to be told where our scrolls were sent. But in the meantime, we have started our detective work by visiting the IDF's repository of Torah Scrolls, where we believe we have identified one of our Czech Memorial Scrolls.

Arizona Jewish Historical Society

The Arizona Jewish Historical Society hosted a 60th anniversary Scroll gathering on February 25th at Cutler Plotkin Jewish Heritage Center. Rabbi Jeffrey Schesnol led the service. Rabbi Bonnie Sharfman, Jay Levinsohn & Tony Fusco, Rabbi Linder, and Cantor Baruch Koritan participated.

Buenos Aires Museum of the Holocaust

Buenos Aires Museum of the Holocaust hosted a 60th anniversary Memorial Scroll gathering on 6th March of the 3 Czech Torahs in Buenos Aires, Argentina assisted by members and rabbis from the 3 BA synagogues.


B'nei Mitzvah 10 pack

Many scroll holder communities ensure their B'nei Mitzvah read from their Czech Memorial Scroll. We hope that Scroll Holder Communities can take advantage of our offer to purchase the ten pack of our newly published book 1564 Scrolls a Legacy of Jewish Life in Bohemia and Moravia to offer as a gift to your B'nei Mitzvah children.

We are offering a ten pack at £100 plus postage, a discount of £75. A single book is offered at £17.50 plus postage for 150 pages, full colour, hardback.

1564 Scrolls a Legacy of Jewish Life in Bohemia and Moravia

£17.50 plus shipping


10 Pack 1564 Scrolls a Legacy of Jewish Life in Bohemia and Moravia

£100 plus shipping


In summer 1965, at a cross community service at Westminster Synagogue, Chief Rabbi Dr Israel Brodie led the saying of kaddish for those who had died in the Shoah. This Jewish service can take many forms, and is expected to be cross community, bringing multiple Scroll Holder Communities together across a region. 

The following are special scroll gatherings being organised to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the Memorial Scrolls arriving in London.

Sunday, 7 April 2024 New York, NY - Temple Emanu-El

Temple Emanu-El will repeat its successful Czech Memorial Scroll Gathering of 2019 on 7 April 2024.

Friday, 12 April 2024 Thousand Oaks, CA - Temple Adat Elohim

Temple Adat Elohim will host an Czech Memorial Scroll gathering during its Erev Shabbat service.

Sunday, 14 April 2024 Orange County, CA - Temple Beth Tikvah

Temple Beth Tikvah, Fullerton, Orange County, CA, will host a 60th anniversary Czech Memorial Scroll Gathering on 14 April 2024, the same year as their own 60th anniversary of foundation.

Saturday, 18 May 2024 London UK - Liberal Jewish Synagogue

Liberal Jewish Synagogue invites you to join them for a torah service focussed on their Czech Memorial Scroll, and to include the first Ralph Yablon Memorial Talk.

24 October Simchat Torah at Ec Chajim, Prague

Ec Chajim, Prague, invites you to join them to celebrate Simchat Torah with their Czech Memorial Scroll

3 November 2024 Wayne, NJ - Temple Beth Tikvah

Temple Beth Tikvah and the Gross Center at Ramapo College will host a 60th anniversary Czech Memorial Scroll Gathering on 3 November, 2024.

10 November 2024 Sarasota, FL - Jewish Federation

The Jewish Federation of Sarasota Manatee will host a 60th anniversary Czech Memorial Scroll Gathering on 10 November 2024.

Hannukah 2024 Israel - Beit Theresienstadt, Kibbutz Givat Haim Ichud, Israel

The Beit Theresenstadt centre will host a 60th anniversary Czech Memorial Scroll Gathering during Hanukkah 2024.

Scroll Towns

Bucovice MST Scroll 186

MST researcher Beverly Karp tells the story of MST 186, a scroll from Bucovice, Moravia.

The Ostrava Newsletter Project

The Next Ostrava Newsletter will arrive in time for the haggim. Dr David Lawson and Marian Popper. 

You can subscribe to the Ostrava newsletter here.


We are planning a book listing the Ostrava Stolpersteine, with photos and biographies of those commemorated. Watch out for later this year.

Making of Stolpersteine

Here is a video, in German, about the making of Stolpersteine

Visits and Talks

Czech Scrolls Conversations

Have you booked your Czech Scrolls Conversation?

Using Zoom, MST is delighted to offer sessions to provide educational content about the rescue and ongoing commemoration of 1,564 scrolls from Bohemia and Moravia.  These scrolls survived the Shoah and have been distributed around the world for safe keeping and to pay tribute to so many lost communities.  Our story resonates with all kinds of people: scroll holders,  non-scroll-holders, people of all faiths and backgrounds but especially seniors and B’nai mitzvah students.  Our virtual content can help educate and entertain.

We offer, free of charge, opportunities to share our programming and expertise with your congregations.  We have volunteer Experts available to speak about the following topics:

  1. The Czech Scroll Story: From Bohemia and Moravia to the Diaspora
  2. Our Binder (wimpel) collection: Custom-made Textiles representing 200 years of Jewish life in the Czech Republic
  3. Czech Jewish Towns: A photo journey about the towns that held scrolls
  4. Special Speakers from current day Bohemia/Moravia

If you are interested in booking a Conversation then contact us at

We encourage interaction, with lots of questions. 

Zoom talk 19 March

Soferet Avielah Barclay invites you to join her on a talk about MST#1177 

London Museum Visit

The Czech Scrolls Museum is open for a 2 hour guided tour by pre booking. 

You will learn about Czech Jewish Life; about the Nazi Occupation of Bohemia and Moravia; about the ingathering of the Scrolls by the Prague Jewish Organisations; about the post war survival of the scrolls; about the sale to Ralph Yablon and the transfer to London; about the Czech Binders; about the work the Sofer; and about MST's work around the world.

Our slots are normally 11.30 and 2.30 on Monday to Thursday. We try to provide volunteers to lead tours at specially requested time slots.

Email to request your visit. We operate according to Westminster Synagogue access security standards and will ask you to complete a visitor form.

Staff visit from United Jewish Israel Appeal

Staff visit from PJ Library

Rabbi Kamila Kopřivová gave a Museum tour in Czech to staff members and their families from the Czechia embassy in London.

One of the nine tour groups hosted by MST during Westminster Synagogue's 60th anniversary celebrations.

MST Scroll Loans

The Non Czech Scrolls Adoption Service

Torah Scrolls not from the MST Czech collection

We are pleased to announce that MST is offering a scroll re homing service for non Czech Sifrei Torah. If your community has scrolls it can no longer care for, we will take, examine for being made kosher, and offer to communities around the world who need a kosher Torah Scroll, but not necessarily a Czech Memorial Scroll.

This project started when communities shut down and contacted us to return their Czech Memorial Scroll. They asked us if we could accept their other scrolls.

Accustomed  to handling Torah Scrolls, we have accepted 9 scrolls to date, allocating them on loan to communities which need a Torah but it is not appropriate for them to have one of our Czech ones.  Three have been allocated so far and another, a kosher Sefer Torah has been presented to Kehilat Sha’ar Hanegev, Israel. 

Scroll Holder Community Terms

Memorial Scrolls Trust

English Registered Charity Number: 1196488

Conditions of Loan - summary

When a Memorial Torah Scroll is entrusted to a congregation on long term loan, it is on the understanding that the congregation makes a long term commitment to give this Sefer Torah a prominent and meaningful role in the spiritual and educational life of the congregation. This requires the rabbi and the leaders of the congregation to pledge to dedicate one Shabbat every year to the Jews of their Memorial Torah Scroll – the people, their community, their fate and their heritage. Each Scroll is a messenger from a martyred community that depends on its new community to ensure that their heritage is cherished as well as their remembrance as individuals.

  1. The Torah Scroll is the property of the Memorial Scrolls Trust.

  2. The Torah Scroll is issued exclusively to a designated congregation or institution (“the Recipient”) on long term loan.

  3. The Recipient will pay to the Trust an initial donation of $5000

  4. New Recipients shall make an annual donation to the Trust of $360. 

  5. The Recipients website should have a page or an article about their Czech Torah and its history, as well as the Memorial Scrolls Trust and the Czech Scrolls Museum. The website should also have a link to the MST website 

  1. Recipients who are synagogues, shall have an annual commemorative service dedicated to the Jews of the Memorial Scroll town. 

  2. The Recipient must provide the Trust with a written report a minimum of once every 5 years. This will give an update of the physical condition of the scroll and share highlights of the role it plays in the community.

  3. The Torah Scroll may not be transferred to any other organisation, and must be returned to the Trust in the event of the closure or merger of the designated organisation.

  4. Where a Torah Scroll has been loaned to a museum, it should be placed on display. If it is kept in storage for a period of more than 2 months, it should be returned to the Trust.

  5. The Recipient is responsible for the safekeeping of the Scroll, and for its condition.

  6. The Recipient must arrange and pay for any repairs or restoration that may be necessary while the Scroll is in their care.

  7. Before any repair or restoration work may be undertaken on the Scroll, advance notice must be given and permission needs to be granted by the Trust. The specified work must be undertaken only by or under the close supervision of a nominated certified scribe approved by the Trust.

  8. Where the Etz Chayim are replaced, the MST brass plaque with the Scroll’s identification number must be preserved and reaffixed

  9. Under no circumstances whatsoever may the Torah Scroll be buried. 

  10. The certificate of origin that comes with the Torah Scroll must be framed and displayed in a prominent position near the Scroll. If the certificate cannot be found, then the Recipient must contact the Trust to arrange and pay for a replacement.

  11. The Recipient must maintain adequate insurance against normal risks, and the Trust’s ownership of the Torah Scroll must be endorsed on the insurance policy. Each Torah Scroll to be insured for $25,000.

  12. The Torah Scroll may not be unrolled in its entirety for any reason except that which pertains to its upkeep.

UK £ Sterling Bank Account

Sort Code 60-04-04 Account 86880594

IBAN GB28NWBK60040486880594 BIC: NWBKGB2L

USD $ Bank Account

Sort code 60-04-04 Currency 140 Type 00 Account 87579650 [140/00/87579650]

IBAN. GB22NWBK60730187579650. BIC: NWBKGB2L

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