Jan 25, 2016

Rescued Holocaust Torah Announcement by March of the Living to Highlight International Holocaust Remembrance Day Ceremony

Each year, the renowned March of the Living Holocaust education program takes more than 80 Palm Beach County local students from the depths of the Holocaust in Poland, to the jubilance of the modern State of Israel. And every year, our local group carries a Torah scroll throughout their journey, including on the March of the Living from the Auschwitz to Birkenau camps with more than 10,000 peers from throughout the world.

But, on this year’s trip, the Torah carried by our students will hold a unique and powerful significance. Not only was this Torah recently rescued after being stolen by Nazis 70 years ago, the students will also experience the completion of its restoration and ceremonial return to use in Poland - thanks to a brand new relationship between March of the Living Southern Region and the Jewish Heritage Foundation, both based in Boca Raton.

The new collaboration will be formally announced in a special ceremony bringing together survivors, March of the Living students and supporters on International Holocaust Remembrance Day, Wednesday, January 27 at 2:30 p.m. in the Entin Holocaust Pavilion on the Jewish Federation of South Palm Beach County campus west of Boca Raton. RSVP is needed at mol@bocafed.org.

“This is the first Holocaust Torah that has ever been brought out of Russia. The last time this Torah was read, it was by Holocaust victims,” said Sibyl Silver of Boca Raton, Founder and President of The Jewish Heritage Foundation, which is dedicated to rescuing and restoring Torahs and Judaica plundered by the Nazis. Silver reports that this organization has been responsible for locating, authenticating and starting to restore this first of 118 Torahs that were held stacked in cardboard boxes in a Russian library since the end of World War II. Three of these Torahs are being housed in an ark at Boca Raton Synagogue.

“To our knowledge, we are the first March of the Living (MOL) group to complete a rescued Holocaust Torah in Poland, where the four Holocaust survivors accompanying our students will complete the last four letters,” said Jack Rosenbaum, Director of the MOL Southern Region, which is based at the Jewish Federation of South Palm Beach County west of Boca Raton. “We are ecstatic that, once this Torah is made kosher there, we will be reading from it at our prayer services and carrying it between the camps as well as when we celebrate Israel Independence Day in Israel!”

“I can think of no better way to honor the memories of our martyrs, and we are grateful to work with the March of the Living to make this possible," added Silver.

The organizations are also very grateful to Glen and Rosa Golish of Boca Raton, who have sponsored the restoration of the Torah that will accompany the students. Their four children include Ariella, a 2015 MOL alum, and Yosef, who is preparing for his Bar Mitzvah. Rabbi Martin Boas, the local sofer (Torah scribe) who is restoring the Torah will leave the last word, “Yisrael,” for Glen and Rosa’s son and future marcher, Yosef, to fill in the first letter, “Yud” prior to the March of the Living trip. The remaining four letters of the last word will be completed by the four survivors who will accompany the 2016 MOL Southern Region marchers, along with sofer Rabbi Shmuel Rosenfeld from Israel. Then, the Torah will be returned to active use – and Yosef will read from it at his Bar Mitzvah in June.

"Our family has a long tradition with March of the Living and the Jewish Federation of South Palm Beach County. It is therefore an incredible honor that the Holocaust Torah, rescued from Russia, that we are sponsoring in honor of our son Yosef's upcoming Bar Mitzvah, will be used by the 2016 March of the Living. Completing the Torah in Poland is a special honor as the Torah will be reunited with the souls of our beloved 6 million martyrs, and our survivors and students," said Rosa Golish.

Now, MOL Southern Region and The Jewish Heritage Foundation are offering the opportunity for everyone to support the restoration and return to use of the three Holocaust Torahs in our community. Suggested donations to the Letters, Lines and Verses project are to sponsor one letter at $18, one word at $36, a verse at $54, or an amount of the contributor’s choice. To contribute, visit jewishboca.org/molsouthdonate and write “Torah” in the Additional Comments box, email mol@bocafed.org, or call 561.852.6013.

To RSVP for the special announcement ceremony on International Holocaust Remembrance Day, Wednesday, January 27 at 2:30 p.m. in the Holocaust Pavilion on the Jewish Federation of South Palm Beach County campus west of Boca Raton, email mol@bocafed.org.

Photo caption L-R (Rear): Jack Rosenbaum, Sibyl Silver, Yosef Golish, Rosa Golish, Glen Golish. (Front) Soferim: Rabbi Martin Boas and Rabbi Shmuel Rosenfeld. (Foreground): Three Torahs rescued by the Jewish Heritage Foundation, stored at Boca Raton Synagogue

For more information about the organizations: