«Jewish Observer»
JEWISH UKRAINE
15/34
August 2002
5762 Elul

GLUKHOV TORAH IS RETURNED
MIKHAIL CHASNITSKY
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A significant event occurred June 17 in the life of the Jewish religious community of an ancient town Glukhov, Sumy region. The city museum of local history passed over a sacred book of the Jewish people - the Torah - to the community: "There has happened what should have happened", - the chairman of the commission on observing religious legislation D.Savitsky said during the ceremony.

The Glukhov Jewish community is among the oldest in the region and has played a remarkable role in the city social life. The act of Torah's handover to the Glukhov Jewish community after the latter has renewed its activity symbolizes establishing historical justice. The Torah dates from the XIX century. It includes 20 parts written in Old Jewish. Of particular interest is the story of Torah's survival till nowadays. In 1870 a two-storeyed gold-domed synagogue of white stone was built in the city after the project of architect O. Gross. Later the synagogue acquired a Torah written on parchment. The author of the book "Anti-Semitism and pogroms in Ukraine in 1917-1918" I.Cherikover writes describing a pogrom of Jews in Glukhov in 1918 during establishing the Soviet power," ...Blood was shed in torrents... They shot at the synagogue, tore to pieces Torah's rolls..."!

As it turns out today, after all those events Rabbis of the synagogue stuck together all rolls of the torn Torah to be kept until now.

After the ban imposed on Jewish schools and synagogues in 1930's-40's families of Jews kept Torah with a great risk to them. The former director of the museum of local history A.Golubev told, "In 1972-1973 the Glukhov museum of local history renewed its aptivity. People would come and bring to the museum what they could give. Once a woman Jew brought us a Torah. It's a pity, I don't remember her name, and she didn't enter it". As the Torah, even partially damaged, was of great interest to us, we together with the chairman of Jewish religious community Igor Shishko came out with a request to hand it over to our community".

It has, finally, come off! The director of Glukhov museum of local history Mrs. A.Dyatlenko solemnly handed the Torah over to Igor Shishko in the presence of the head of organization department of the city council D.Savitsky and community members. On behalf of the community I.Shishko expressed deep gratitude to all workers of the museum of local history for Torah's being preserved. He also thanked the city authorities, regional department of culture and, in particular, the chairman of Sumy regional council Mark Berfman for the assistance is solving this problem.

The community has recently had Sabbaths where people for the first time saw the true Torah the Jewish community of our town had possessed over 100 years ago. This is a unique find in the entire Sumy region. And we are proud of it.

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