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Prague's Old-New Synagogue gets first new Torahs since WWII
Czech Republic
Prague's Old-New Synagogue gets first new Torahs since WWII

Prague's medieval Old-New Synagogue received two new Torah scrolls on Sunday, the first ones since the Second World War shattered the country's once-thriving Jewish community.

The Torahs, funded by donations to the Prague Jewish community, were written in Israel and brought into the synagogue in a ceremony that included scripting of the final letters by guests and members of the community, and a street dance.

"After years when Torahs were being destroyed, burnt ... the community today celebrates with its rabbi a new Torah scroll after many, many years. That is the best expression of the development of the Prague Jewish community," said deputy head of the Jewish Community of Prague, Frantisek Banyai.

The Old-New Synagogue is over 700 years old, one of the oldest existing synagogues in Europe. Apart from its significance to the community, it is the main attraction of Prague's Jewish Town, a popular destination for visitors.

Before the Second World War, there were about 125,000 Jews living in what is now the Czech Republic. About 80,000 were killed during the war. 

The Czech Federation of Jewish Communities, the country’s EJC affiliate, estimates 15-20,000 Jews live in the Czech Republic now, although only about a quarter is registered with Jewish communities or other Jewish groups. 

 Click here to read the full article in Reuters

Monday, March 20, 2017
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