On Kristallnacht, the “night of broken glass” when more than 1,400 synagogues were torched and 7,000 Jewish businesses were destroyed across Germany, fourteen-year-old Isaac Schwartz of Hamburg knew he had to act. Seeing a pyre of Torah scrolls and other Jewish sacred items left unattended, he bravely doused the flames and attempted to recover the holy objects. His heroic efforts yielded a single Torah scroll.
As the situation continued to deteriorate rapidly, Schwartz had the scroll buried in the ground along with a number of other sacred items. There it lay for the duration of the Holocaust until it was retrieved by Schwartz and his family. But the trauma had taken its toll, and much of the scroll had been rendered unusable. Recently, the relic was purchased from the Schwartz family and refurbished by philanthropist Leonard Wien.
This historic Kristallnacht Torah scroll will be with us for one Shabbat only, the week of March 15 at the Univeristy of Ottawa where it will be read during the Shabbat service. Services begin at 10:00 am, Torah reading is at 11:00 am followed by a delicious kiddush.
Please join us to celebrate this Torah of our past, present and future and come up close with this historical artifact. As we mourn those we have tragically lost, murdered for being Jews, let's rededicate ourselves to ensure that their memory continues to inspire and drive us to be prouder, stronger and more committed Jews today.
Sponsor: Rohr Chabad Student Network of Ottawa