A 250 year old Torah Scroll will be returned to Kehillat Kernow, the Jewish community of Cornwall on May 28.
The Sefer Torah scroll will be handed over by The Duke of Gloucester, in front of invited guests from the museum and greater Jewish Communities.
The ccroll was one of four that were gifted to the Royal Institution of Cornwall, the charity which owns and manages the Royal Cornwall Museum and Courtney Library, in 1892 by Samuel Jacobs the last leader of the Falmouth Synagogue congregation and had been used in the 18th and 19th centuries.
Torah Scrolls are one of the holiest objects in the Jewish religion and Kehillat Kernow made contact with the museum, requesting that the community be allowed to make use of one of the Scrolls held in its collection.
In March 2013 the trustees of The Royal Institution of Cornwall approved the return of one of the scrolls, following a formal request from Harvey Kurzfield, chairman, and Leslie Lipert, treasurer, of Kehillat Kernow and supported by the former Chief Rabbi Jonathan Sacks and with advice from the Museums Association ethics committee.
Bernard Benarroch, a certified Torah Scribe who restored the Scroll said, “It was an honour to restore this Sefer as I know that it is intrinsically important to the Cornwall community.”
Leslie Lipert said, “The handing over of the scroll at the museum followed by a ceremony at the Town Hall is a tremendous historic event. It is welcomed by the entire Jewish community in Cornwall as a symbol of continuity of the Jewish community through its original use at the Falmouth Synagogue. We have enjoyed the very thorough and open negotiations with the museum and Courtney Library and it is our hope that this good relationship will continue to grow.”
Museum director Ian Wall said, “This is a tremendous occasion for which I have my predecessor, Hilary Bracegirdle, to thank as she undertook the very thorough and sensitive negotiations for the repatriation. It is a clear signal that The Royal Institution of Cornwall is committed to establishing strong links with communities across Cornwall and in this case the Jewish Community. I am delighted that I am here to witness this historic occasion.”
After the handing over ceremony, there will be a procession to the Town Hall, followed by a special dedication service by the Rev Elkan Levy, a past President of the United Synagogue and a past chairman of the Chief Rabbinate Council. Speeches and a buffet lunch will follow.