Mayor of Kolín joins Northwood for Memorial Shabbat

24 April 2017

People from around the world took part in a Memorial Shabbat at Northwood & Pinner Liberal Synagogue (NPLS) to remember the Jews murdered in the Holocaust from the towns where the congregation’s Czech and Slovak Torah scrolls originated.

An annual event, this year’s service focussed on Kolín, in the Czech Republic. The current Mayor of the town, Vit Rakušan, was the guest of honour. He was joined at the service by Aleš Opatrný, from the Czech Embassy, as well as local politicians from the Hillingdon area.

Miles Laddie, from the Memorial Scrolls Trust, presented the Mayor with a certificate of appreciation (pictured) recognising the dedicated work he, and others in Kolín, have done over decades to preserve, research and promote the heritage of the town’s lost Jewish community.

Michael Heppner was also honoured at the services for his dedicated work for almost 40 years in inspiring NLPS, and many other congregations around the world, to honour their Czech Memorial Scroll through active involvement in the town from which it came.

The services were live-streamed via the NPLS website allowing several people in Kolin, and members and friends all over the globe, to watch.

The service included special songs written by young members Sam Finkelstein and Lydia Boffey, following their Kabbalat Torah class visit to Kolin, and a song from Judi Herman’s musical Stones of Kolín. The NPLS Choir also sang the Czech National anthem… in Czech!

Liberal Judaism president, and rabbi emeritus of NPLS, Rabbi Dr Andrew Goldstein said: “The Czech and Slovak Torah scrolls have added an extra dimension to Northwood & Pinner Liberal Synagogue. They have inspired the congregation and the towns whence they came to keep alive the memory of the Jews murdered in the Shoah.”

Picture credit: Victor Shack

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