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California Synagogue Returning Torah Scroll To Czech Town It Was Saved From

A synagogue in the San Francisco Bay Area is soliciting funds to restore and return a Torah scroll saved from the Nazis during their pillaging of Czechoslovakia’s Jewish communities.

The Peninsula Sinai Congregation, which holds a Torah from the town of Olomouc, explained in a GoFundMe appeal: “During the Nazi era, thousands of Torah scrolls were looted in Czechoslovakia. Over 1,500 were rescued and placed in Jewish communities across the globe. The Jews of Olomouc, a town near Prague, were all but gone by the end of World War II…. Now they have asked that their Torah be returned — the first request ever to bring one of the Czech scrolls home.”

The Conservative congregation has already pulled in $11,000 toward a fundraising goal of $38,000 — an amount needed to restore the scroll to kosher status. It’s also raising further funds to replace the scroll when it is sent back to Olomouc.

The GoFundMe page encourages donors to give in $18 increments — in keeping with the Jewish chai tradition — and suggests giving to restore specific sections of the scroll.

Contact Daniel J. Solomon at solomon@forward.com or on Twitter, @DanielJSolomon

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