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Photos of the one of a kind scroll to be unveiled



by Rhonda Spivak April 26, 2011

On Sunday, May 1st, 2011 at 7 p.m. Shaarey Zedek Synagogue will be dedicating its very own Holocaust Scroll (Hebrew: Megillat Hashoah), the only one of its kind in Canada.

Shaarey Zedek’s Chazzan Anibal Mass initiated this idea of commissioning the scribing of the Megillat Hashoah a number of years ago.

Last year the family of the late Judge Ron Meyers fulfilled the vision of Chazzan Mass by commissioning  internationally renowned artist and scribe Irma Penn to produce this unique Holocaust Scroll. Judge Ron Meyers was a long-time active synagogue member, and well-known for his years of work with Rainbow Stage.

The scroll contains stories of individual lives and deep philosophical and religious questioning in reference to the Holocaust, and is written in Hebrew with English translations.
As Tzivie Myers told the Winnipeg Jewish Review, “I commissioned the creation of this special scroll to honour the memory of my late husband, Ron Meyers. We believe it to be the only one of its kind in the world. It is written in Hebrew and English and it has all the Hebrew vowels as well as the Eicha trop (lamentations). I was very lucky that Irma Penn, who is an internationally known artist and scribe, consented to do this project for me. It truly is a work of art. The cover for the Scroll was designed by me and sewn beautifully by Sharon Greenberg.” 
She added, “My hope is that this Scroll will be brought into the schools, to help teach students about the Holocaust in a new and meaningful way.’

Irma Penn said that “The writing of the Hebrew and English took three months, working on steadily. Then the weaving and finishing took a few more days over a three months period because it took time to order the rollers."

Penn noted that it was an honour to do the scroll in memory of Tzivie's husband.

“The format of the scroll is in the same as the Torah and the other scrolls currently in use (Esther, Ruth, etc.)  It is written in block format, with special sript reserved for the Torah and other sacred texts. This scroll is smaller than a Torah, being only 14 columns for each language and 28 lines per column, with seven yeriot (panels) of kosher parchment woven together.  It is approximately 17 inches in height.”

Penn  also believes it is a very relevant, timely scroll, telling the Jewish story in the 20th century holocaust, that cannot really be expressed adequately.

“By having the story on a parchment scroll, it is linked to the other scrolls and tradition, already in use. This is very important. The beauty of some of the letters have been meaningfully embellished so that not only do you hear the word, but can see a symbol with greater meaning."

“For example the word "Ani" (I) there is a tear drop which signifies the tear of the scribe at having to write about such a terrible story.  Another example is that there is a weapon in the form of a bow and arrow on the word "Torah" which reminds us that we have to combat injustice with our weapons of continuous learning.  There are many more of these meaningful symbols which make the message even more powerful.” 

The scroll will be unveiled at a special private ceremony for the family and friends of the Late Judge Ron Myers  on the afternoon of May 1, 2011, and  then it will be dedicated and used at the community's annual Holocaust Commemorative Service at 7 PM that same day.

The commemorative service will be well attended by the interfaith community and will feature readings from the scroll by Shaarey Zedek Synagogue's clergy, Rabbi Larry Lander, Reverend Father Robert Polz (representing the Catholic community), Archdeacon Jennifer Sisson (from the Anglican community), and community leaders including The Honorable Philip Lee, Lieutenant Governor of Manitoba, The Honourable Anita Neville MP, The Honourable Christine Melnick, Minister of Water Stewardship, Mayor Sam Katz, and others.

First, second, and third generation Holocaust survivors and others will light six memorial candles in memory of those who perished in the Holocaust.

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Rhonda Spivak, Editor

Publisher: Spivak's Jewish Review Ltd.

Opinions expressed in letters to the editor or articles by contributing writers are not necessarily endorsed by Winnipeg Jewish Review.