Czech Torah Scroll

Scroll No. 1242, written in 1830 is on permanent loan to Congregation Shir Shalom (originally loaned to the Jewish Family Congregation in the care of Dr. Edward Mendell).

Congregation Shir Shalom has a Torah scroll on loan from the Memorial Scrolls Trust foundation, which was established in 1964 by a Jewish philanthropist to preserve 1,564 scrolls that survived both the Holocaust and a Communist Regime when Jewish life was also disrupted, and synagogues were closed. The scroll originates from Brno, the capital of Moravia in what is now known as the Czech Republic.  During the Holocaust, about 13,000 Jews were deported from the town of Brno. Today, approximately 300 Jewish people are living there.

When a scroll is loaned, we are entrusted to keep the Torah scroll safe and to take care of it to ensure that it remains in a condition that allows future generations to read from it. Though the Torah scroll “lives” at Shir Shalom, it is on loan, and the Memorial Scrolls Trust is updating its files to access current information about all of the scrolls currently entrusted to synagogues worldwide.

Upon researching further, we found an article in the New York Times from July 2000 where we learned that Dr. Mendell, who was one of three of the original families in 1981 who founded Jewish Family Congregation (JFC) which later merged into Shir Shalom, organized receipt of this scroll.  He and his wife were collectors of Judaica and he helped JFC obtain the scroll by sending $1,000 to the Memorial Scrolls Trust to fund the work necessary to make the scroll Kosher so that it could be loaned and utilized by JFC – and now by Shir Shalom since it was merged with JFC.

In 2024 we celebrate our 60th anniversary since the Czech scrolls that survived the Shoah were saved from further loss under the communist regime, by being brought to London in 1964. For more information, click on the links below:

Memorial Scrolls Trust is celebrating its 60th anniversary

Memorial Scrolls Trust


There is a new book “1564 Scrolls – A Legacy of Life in Bohemia and Moravia” being published about the Czech scrolls and how they survived the Shoah.  It is offered to communities at c.$130 (£100) for a pack of 10 books instead of c.$220.75 (£175.00).  Orders placed now will be shipped out end of August.

1564 Scrolls – Bnei Mitsvah 10 Pack – A Legacy of Jewish Life 
 in Bohemia and Moravia

(Click here to order)


We thank our congregant Miriam Wilson for her contribution to the information above as part of her Bat Mitzvah project.