Polish city of Lodz receives 1st new Torah scroll since WWII


(JTA) — The Jewish community of the Polish city of Lodz received its first new Torah scroll since World War II, its rabbi said.

The scroll, donated to the community by the British Jewish philanthropists Hilton and Louise Nathanson, was introduced on Monday during a special ceremony in the city’s synagogue, the rabbi of the Jewish Community of Lodz, Symcha Keller, told the PAP news agency.

“It is a wonderful culmination to the 210 years of existence of the local community and the 20th anniversary of its return to its prewar headquarters,” Keller said of the donation made by the Nathansons.

The donors chose Lodz after celebrating their son’s bar mitzvah there, because their families hail from Lodz and Radom, PAP reported.

The scribes of the Torah, which took six months to write, outlined the last few letters for the Nathansons to fill in during the ceremony under a scribe’s supervision. Chief Polish Rabbi Michael Schudrich also attended the event.

Lodz, which is located in central Poland, had hundreds of thousands of Jews before the Holocaust.

Prior to receiving the new scroll, the Jewish community of Lodz, which is made up of a few hundred members, used an older scroll that predates World War II and was so frail it had to be handled with extreme care lest it tear, according to David Szychowski, the Lodz envoy of the Israeli Shavei Israel organization, which aims to help people with Jewish ancestry return to Judaism.

Earlier this year, Beit Trojmiasto — the Reform Jewish community of cities of Gdansk, Gydinia and Spopot – dedicated a synagogue in Gdansk. It was named Beit Haim Dov in honor of Rabbi Haim Dov Beliak, the director of Friends of Jewish Renewal in Poland, which is a support group for Beit Polska, the umbrella organization for Polish Reform and Conservative Jewish communities.

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