While I was browsing the slow-loading New Haven Register website for stories about the current lousy weather there, ironically, I saw this article about how the synagogue in which I grew up, Temple Emanuel, is retiring its Holocaust Torah and, just like the story describes a congregant getting goosebumps as she looked at the Torah, I’ve squealched back tears.
I’ve read from that Torah – I had my bat mitzvah with that Torah, was confirmed with it and got married in front of it. I’ve been back to the shul a few times since settling in Ohio and, as I’ve written before, the congregation has had only two rabbis in nearly 40 years. I recall hearing the story of that Torah many times over those 40 years, and what makes the Torah even more special is that my great-grandmother – my mother’s mother’s mother – fled Czechoslovakia and her four brothers all died in the Holocaust (an antique photo of the five of them sits in my family room).
If you’re not Jewish or for whatever other reason find yourself unable to relate to these emotions, they might be analogized to how a Christian might feel in the presence of reliquaries, just based on having been with several Christian friends at byzantine art displays. But I can’t say for sure of course.
The next time I’m visiting home, I will be sure to go visit the synagogue with my husband and kids to view that Torah. Especially now that my oldest is getting bar mitzvahed.