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Arizona Jewish Historical Society to host Czech Holocaust Torah Celebratory Commemoration Feb. 25

Local nonprofit showcases rescued Torah Scrolls from the Holocaust.

The Arizona Jewish Historical Society will host the Czech Holocaust Torah Celebratory Commemoration at the Cutler*Plotkin Jewish Heritage Center this Sunday, Feb. 25, marking 60 years since the Torahs were rescued from a warehouse in Prague and sent to London's Westminster Synagogue through the generosity of Ralph Yablon.

This year, 2024, is designated as the commemoration year for this significant historical event.

“The Czech scrolls are survivors and silent witnesses,” said Jeffrey Ohrenstein, CEO of the Memorial Scrolls Trust. “They represent not only the lost communities of Bohemia and Moravia, all those who perished in the Shoah.”

This event will take place on Feb. 25 at the Cutler*Plotkin Jewish Heritage Center, located at 122 E. Culver St. The commemoration will feature various activities and presentations aimed at honoring the legacy of the Holocaust Torahs and educating attendees about their historical significance.

The itinerary for the commemoration is as follows:

  • 3-3:05 p.m., Processional of Torahs with representatives from Scroll Holder Communities, accompanied by local survivors.
  • 3:05-3:15 p.m., Memorial service led by Rabbi Jeffrey Schesnol, including the lighting of Shoah candles by survivors and the recitation of the Mourner's Kaddish.
  • 3:15-3:25 p.m., Remarks by Jeffrey Ohrenstein, chairman of the Memorial Scrolls Trust, about the MST and the Torah scrolls.
  • 3:25-3:30 p.m., Meditation, Poetry or Prayer, led by local Rabbi Bonnie Sharfman.
  • 3:30-3:35 p.m., Presentation on the Holocaust history of Czech Torah Scrolls by Jay Levinsohn and Tony Fusco, accompanied by a FAQ session provided by students and local Holocaust survivor connections.
  • 3:35-3:45 p.m., Sermon led by Rabbi Linder.
  • 3:45-3:50 p.m., Singing of Hatikvah, led by Cantor Baruch Koritan.
  • 3:50-4 p.m., Closing remarks by Rabbi Jeffrey and Recessional of Torahs to display tables in the Administration Building.

The event is expected to draw attendees from Scroll Holder Communities, survivors, educators, students, grandparents and other guests. Additionally, the event will be accessible via live-streamed Zoom access for those unable to attend in person.

For more information about the Czech Holocaust Torah Celebratory Commemoration, visit