Kiev Rabbi Wins Battle To Keep 18 Torah Scrolls

A Kiev rabbi has won a protracted legal battle against a Ukrainian governmental agency for his synagogue’s ownership of 18 Torah scrolls.

The Kiev Economic Court of Appeals ruled last week that Rabbi Moshe Azman’s Central Synagogue in Kiev may keep the scrolls as its possession.

Ukraine’s State Archive Service had transferred the scrolls to the synagogue in 1995, Azman told JTA, after taking possession of them following their confiscation in the 1920s by communist authorities.

“They gave it to us to use but then wanted that we give them back, which we refused to do,” he said. “We fixed all the Torah scrolls and made them usable again. They belonged to the Jewish community and that is still their place.”

Azman, a chief rabbi of Ukraine, also said the scrolls never left the country.

According to Azman, the archive service first requested the scrolls be returned after the 2006 appointment of historian Olga Ginzburg to head the archive. Azman said he believes the archive service is in possession of 800 to 1,000 additional Torah scrolls.

Over the years, the archive service also gave the Jewish community fragments of other Torah scrolls, which were buried in keeping with Jewish tradition.

Author

Your Comments

The Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. All readers can browse the comments, and all Forward subscribers can add to the conversation. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Forward requires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not and will be deleted. Egregious commenters or repeat offenders will be banned from commenting. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and the Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.

Recommend this article

Kiev Rabbi Wins Battle To Keep 18 Torah Scrolls

Thank you!

This article has been sent!

Close