Vilnius, June 27, BNS–A 350-year-old Torah scroll used in Jewish religious services in the Vilnius ghetto has returned to Vilnius. British photojournalist Judah Passow decided to turn the scroll over to the Lithuanian Jewish Community for use in the Choral Synagogue in Vilnius.
“What’s important is not the [scroll itself], but that he decided to give the Torah to our synagogue. The Torah belonged to his family, it was safeguarded during the war and the entire time. Boys became men during bar mitzvah in front of this Torah and began to read from this Torah, so it is a great honor for us,” Lithuanian Jewish Community chairwoman Faina Kukliansky told BNS. According to Jewish religious tradition, Torah scrolls must be written by hand. Kukliansky said this Torah will replace the one currently being used, which is worn out.
Passow, whose roots are in Ukraine and Poland, told how Lithuanian Jewish community representatives gave the scroll to his father, a professor at an American university in Philadelphia, almost six decades ago when he visited Vilnius in 1960.