A wealthy British couple have given the Jewish community of Lodz in Poland its first new Torah scroll since World War II, after celebrating their son’s bar mitzvah there.
Philanthropists Hilton and Louise Nathanson, whose families hail from Lodz and Radom, made the donation after their son Tate’s ceremony, sparking cheer from the local community.
“It’s a wonderful culmination to the 210 years of existence of the local community and the 20th anniversary of its return to its pre-war headquarters,” said the rabbi of the Lodz Jewish community, Symcha Keller.
The Torah scroll took six months to write, and the scribes outlined the last few letters for the Nathansons to fill in during the ceremony last month.
The event was celebrated by Poland’s Chief Rabbi Michael Schudrich and representatives of other Jewish communities, including Chazan Avromi Freilich of London’s Hampstead Garden Suburb Synagogue.
Lodz, in central Poland, had hundreds of thousands of Jews before the Holocaust, but the community now numbers a few hundred.
The couple made the donation after seeing the state of the old scroll, which pre-dated World War II and was so frail it had to be handled with extreme care to save it from tearing.