321 East 73rd Street, 3rd Floor

New York City, NY 10021

Activities >

The Second Life of Czech Torah Scrolls

exhibition opening 03 December, 2018 - 7:00 PM

[BBLA at Bohemian National Hall]


Opening of a traveling exhibition “The Second Life of Czech Torah Scrolls” highlighting the tradition of the Torah scroll and its place in the life of the synagogue. It also covers the fate of Torah scrolls from Bohemia and Moravia during and after the Shoah.


>> More information about the exhibition.


Evening program
Against the Tide: The Museum as Modern Ark, presentation by Misha Sidenberg, art curator, Jewish Museum in Prague.
Thus We Remember: The Continuing Story of the Torah from Dvur Kralove, talk by Rabbi Norman Patz.
Hanukkah songs by Katarina Vizina. Refreshments by Zlata Praha.


BBLA Gallery at Bohemian National Hall
321 East 73rd Street, 3rd Floor
New York, NY 10021


Free and open to the public. Suggested donation $10. RSVP online at eventbrite.com.


This event is organized by the Society for the History of Czechoslovak Jews with the support by BBLA, Jewish Museum in Prague, Consulate General of the Czech Republic in New York and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Czech Republic.

Against the Tide: The Museum as Modern Ark
It is hardly a cliché to say that the Jewish Museum in Prague is unique. Often metaphorically described as Noah’s Ark, what sets the world’s third oldest public Judaica collection apart from other museums, archives, and libraries is not only its 112 years of existence, but, first and foremost, its role in the preservation of the memory of Bohemian and Moravian Jewry. This effort culminated during the Second World War when the Museum became identified with an unprecedented rescue mission organized from within by the Jewish community in the face of its imminent annihilation, and it continued this mission over the four decades of totalitarian rule after the Communist coup of 1948 brought a brief interlude of relative freedom to an abrupt end. For the opening of the exhibition The Second Life of Czech Torah Scrolls at the Bohemian National Hall, Misha Sidenberg, the visual arts curator and provenance research specialist at the Jewish Museum in Prague, will discuss past, present, and future efforts to keep Czech Jewish identity alive through maintaining one of the most extensive legacies to have survived the Shoah and the subsequent prolonged agony of Soviet rule in Central Europe.


Thus We Remember: The Continuing Story of the Torah from Dvur Kralove
Under the guidance of Rabbi Patz, in 1975, the Temple Sholom of West Essex became custodian of a Czech Holocaust Torah from Dvur Kralove, receiving the Torah in permanent trust from the Memorial Scrolls Trust in London. Temple Sholom of West Essex is honored to be part of the network of congregations maintained by the Memorial Scrolls Trust (“parents” of our Holocaust scroll). We encourage you to visit the Trust’s website at www.memorialscrollstrust.org. You will find a great deal of information about the Trust’s history and mission as well as an invitation to visit the Memorial Scrolls Trust Museum, located in the Westminster Synagogue in London.


Michaela (Misha) Sidenberg is a Czech-born art historian and curator. Graduating from the Faculty of Arts and Sciences at Charles University in Prague in 1996, she took up the position of visual art’s curator at the Jewish Museum in Prague. Since then she has participated in many international projects covering various aspects of Jewish history, art, and popular culture, including international traveling exhibitions in the U.S., Europe, Australia, and Japan. She has also been active in researching the complex impact of cultural devastation that occurred during the Shoah and WWII. As one of six experts on a research team established in 1998 by the Czech government of to identify and evaluate Holocaust-era looted art in Czech public collections, she co-authored the first report written on this issue. In addition to her work at the Jewish Museum, Sidenberg also works as an independent curator, primarily for contemporary photojournalism and documentary photography projects.


Rabbi Norman R. Patz became the spiritual leader of the Temple Sholom of West Essex in the summer of 1969 and was named Rabbi Emeritus in June, 2006. Under his guidance, the congregation grew from 147 members to over 400 families living throughout the West Essex area and became custodians of a Czech Holocaust Torah from Dvur Kralove, where, in 2008, the congregation dedicated a monument to that destroyed Jewish community. His ministry has always stressed Jewish “peoplehood” and strong engagement with Israel and Diaspora communities. He and his wife Naomi have led many congregational trips to Israel and Jewish sites in Europe including Prague. Rabbi Patz’s liturgical style combines dignity and warmth and his strength as a teacher and pastor speaks to his belief in the vitality and centrality of Reform Judaism for our time. The rabbi holds adjunct positions at Montclair State University and Caldwell University. Since his retirement from Temple Sholom, Rabbi Patz has been part of a rotation of retired Reform rabbis who serve Temple Beth Shalom of Puerto Rico, officiating there for the High Holy Days and for several months during the winter.


Katarina Vizina, native of Bratislava, Slovakia, holds an MA in Musical Theater from the Czech Republic and an MFA in Acting from Brooklyn College, where she received the Distinguished Fellowship for Outstanding Contribution to Theater. Katarina has performed in plays, musicals, one woman shows, cabarets, sketch comedy, radio shows, movies, and countless voiceover spots. She sings and performs in English, Slovak, Czech, German and Russian if she’s not spending time with her musician husband and their 4 children.

Bohemian Benevolent & Literary AssociationHospodaThe National Czech and Slovak MuseumAmerican Friends of the Czech RepublicCzech CenterConsulate General