Torah scroll blackening
Torah scroll blackening Itzik Amitai

The two wooden handles of a 90 year old German Torah scroll, that survived the Holocaust but not the 'Disengagement' - in which Jewish communities were ethnically-cleansed from Gaza and northern Samaria (Shomron) - will soon be put on display at the Katif Center with pictures of the scroll.

The Katif Center memorializes the communities of Gush Katif and the northern Shomron that were uprooted in then Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's 2005 'Disengagement' plan.

The German Torah scroll was brought to Israel after the Holocaust and donated to residents of Gush Katif. After the community was forcibly uprooted, the parchment mysteriously and suddenly began to blacken, until it was unfit for reading and placed in a genizah (repository for religious items).

Reuven Rozenblatt, owner of the Torah who donated the handles to the Katif Center, said "the Torah scroll survived the Holocaust, but not the uprooting of Gush Katif." Currently living in the north-west Negev community of Kfar Maimon, Rozenblatt was the first head of the Gaza Coast Regional Council, .

Moshe Aharon Rozenblatt z''l, Reuven's father, was a fixed member of the Tel Aviv synagogue "Achva." When the synagogue was closed, Rozenblatt received the German Torah scroll. He brought it to the community Tel Katifa in Gush Katif, where the scroll was completed restored by residents and used as the community's only scroll for many years.

In the last year, Reuven Rozenblatt reports that a strange phenomenon started occuring, in which the parchment began blackening to the point where it could not be read.

"Many years we used this scroll in Gush Katif, and the residents of Tel Katifa continued using it afterwards, without any problem. Shortly after it was uprooted from the community, the blackening began. I am convinced that the Torah scroll simply didn't survive the expulsion from Gush Katif," states Rozenblatt.

Mochi Batar, CEO of the Katif Center, said "the handles of the Torah scroll join the memorial items we have gathered over the years from the Gush Katif communities," adding that they are now part of "the documentary project, the archive and additional presentations in the Center that help us preserve and commemorate the legacy of Gush Katif."

Reuven Rozenblatt with the Torah scroll handles
Reuven Rozenblatt with the Torah scroll handles Haggai Huberman

The Torah scroll in early stages of blackening
The Torah scroll in early stages of blackening Itzik Amitai

Torah scroll covering
Torah scroll covering Itzik Amitai
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