Bronx—On June 12, the Public Relations Society of America’s Big Apple chapter in New York City honored Calvary Hospital with two Big Apple Awards for “From Darkness to Light: Restoring Life to a 135-year-old Torah Scroll.” The hospital topped the categories for (1) Community Relations: Campaigns of $150,000 and less and (2) Events & Observances (more than seven days). Calvary’s campaign raised more than $111,000. (Once all restoration expenses were covered, remaining funds have benefited all patients and families under the hospital’s care).
It took more than a year to restore the historic 135-year-old Torah scroll. This scroll is now kosher for use in services and Jewish rituals. This Torah scroll—No. 515 and dating from 1880—is originally from the town of Taus-Domazlice, in what is now known as the Czech Republic. It has been on permanent loan from the Memorial Scrolls Trust in London since 1988.
In 1964, the Westminster Synagogue in London, England, agreed to receive 1,564 Torah scrolls from Prague. They established the Memorial Scrolls Trust (MST) to restore the scrolls and distribute them to communities throughout the world. MST scrolls are currently on permanent loan to more than 1,400 congregations throughout the world. There are an estimated 1,000 in the U.S. alone. The vast majority have been loaned to recipients firmly planted in the Jewish community such as synagogues, camps, yeshivot, day schools and community centers. Calvary’s scroll is one of only 20 in the greater New York area today and one of just a handful that have gone to non-Jewish recipients. To learn more about the trust, visit: www.memorialscrollstrust.org.