In 2000 the Auckland Jewish community Beth Shalom was entrusted with a precious Sefer Torah (scroll of the law) that contains the first five books of the Bible in Hebrew. The scroll was handwritten by a scribe in the Ukrainian city of Zhitomir about 1930, in defiance of Soviet prohibitions on religious observances. When the scribe’s activities were discovered he was deported to Siberia, but not before giving the scroll to non-Jewish neighbours for safekeeping. It was hidden from both Soviet and Nazi troops during the Second World War, and brought to the west in the 1980s.
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New Zealand Herald
Reference: 14 December 2000
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