President Carter last night accepted a 14th Century Sefer Torah from the World Jewish Congress and solemnly promised to place it in the White House where he will observe it daily and be a constant reminder to him of the sentiment of its givers.
The Sefer Torah, adorned with bright red velvet bearing the traditional symbols in gold embroidery, was presented to him by Nahum Goldmann, retiring WJC president, who stressed: “We live by its precepts, and we die for it, and we survive by it. Take it, I hope, to the White House as a constant reminder of our prayers for justice and peace.”
TORAH WILL BE IN WHITE HOUSE
Carted replied: “I accept it for all those who share a common religious heritage and a common commitment to the future. It is obvious that this gift means a great deal to me and all of the people of the nation I represent. It will be a constant reminder of the unbreakable ties of moral, political, economic and military influences that bind the United States and Israel. I will observe it daily in the White House as I go about my own duties and it will be a constant reminder to me of the spirit of human rights, decency and love that is exemplified by those of you represented here tonight.”
The presentation came after the President’s address and he received it amid an enthusiastic standing ovation. Prior to his address, he was presented with the Nahum Goldmann Medal by Philip Klutznick who said it was being given for “your deep-seated commitment to human rights.” Klutznick, who succeeded Goldmann today as president of the WJC which has affiliates in 63 nations on five continents, presided at the program.
The WJC’s executive director for Europe, Stephen Roth of London, told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency that the Sefer Torah had been seized by Nazi forces from a synagogue in Uzhrod Hrad in Moravia and sent to Prague where the German occupiers had collected Judaica for museum pieces.
The Jewish community of Uzhrod Hrad, which Roth said had existed since the 14th Century, was destroyed by the Nazis. After World War II, the Czechoslovak government, having come into possession of the Judaica, sold some of the Torahs to the Westminster Synagogue in London which yielded it to be a gift for the President.
The Archive of the Jewish Telegraphic Agency includes articles published from 1923 to 2008. Archive stories reflect the journalistic standards and practices of the time they were published.