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Image by Jose De Queiroz

Czech Torah Scroll & Holocaust Memorial


1890 Czech Torah Scroll

Temple Beth El – Holocaust Torah

Temple Beth El's Torah scroll is one of the 1,584 sacred scrolls that the Nazis seized from the synagogues of Bohemia, Moravia, and Slovakia to use in a "Museum of Extinct People."

It was written in 1890 and used in the community of Uhersky Brod in South East Moravia. 

All these torahs, rescued after World War II, were kept in the State Museum of Prague, Czechoslovakia. In 1964, they were moved to the Westminster Synagogue in London from which Temple Beth El obtained Torah MST#687 in 1987.

The Torah is on loan to the our congregation by the Memorial Scrolls Trust.


The Torah scroll was dedicated at a special Simchat Torah service on October 15, 1987, as a memorial for each Jew who perished during the Holocaust and as a lasting testimonial to the survival of the Jewish faith, spirit, and heritage.

Out of the Ashes

When the Torah is taken from the aron ha'kodesh on Yom Kippur, Shimeni Atzereth, Passover, Shavuot, and the Holocaust Remembrance Sabbath, it is placed on a symbolic stand.


The base of the stand is formed by the trunk of a large tree symbolizing the Torah as our Tree of Life. From the trunk emerge six branches representing the six million of our faith who perished in the Holocaust. Five of the six branches are bare while the sixth shows a few leaves sprouting at its tip to represent that out of the ashes of the Holocaust emerges the continued life of our people through Torah.

Temple Beth El – Jewish Memorial

Inscription: Remember. Dedicated to the six million and to the spirit and survival of the Jewish People.

Holocaust Memorial

Nearly forty years after the war, after the last of the concentration camps were liberated, Temple Beth El erected a monument to the Holocaust in the cemetery. There, the congregation held its first service for the six million Jews killed – 1.5 million of them children. None of them had a gravestone, nor anyone to say Kaddish for them.

The six foot tall black granite monument is here so that all people, whether Jew or gentile, do not forget the Holocaust and its meaning for the past, the present and the future.

Every year, on the Sunday morning before Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish people of our community gather in the Temple Beth El cemetery to mourn and pray by the light of the flickering six candles. Together we recite the memorial prayer and Kaddish. We will never forget them.

Temple Beth El of Utica Holocaust Memorial

Inscription: In loving memory of the six million Jewish victims of the Holocaust. 1939-45.

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