The Yanov Torah displayed to seminary students at InterSem 2009 in Malibu, California

The Yanov Torah is a Sefer Torah, or a specially hand-written copy of the Torah or Pentateuch, which is the holiest book within Judaism and venerated by Jews. It was assembled from the collected individual Torah manuscript sheaves which had been smuggled into the Yanov Nazi work camp during World War II. The reassembled Torah was then smuggled out of the then Soviet Union, and brought to Los Angeles. It has been donated to the rabbinical programs at Hebrew Union College,[1] where it is taken on tour to various synagogues and assemblies, so that the story of its history can be told.


The Book

The published book entitled the Yanov Torah is written by Rabbi Erwin Herman, then director of the Pacific Southwest Council of the UAHC (now URJ). Herman describes how the Yanov Torah was brought to him by Dr. Emanuel Orlove (a pseudonym), who smuggled the Torah out of the Soviet Union when he emigrated to America in the 1980. Dr. Orlove also tells the history of how the pages were smuggled into the work camp, and how they were collected and reunited—to be stitched back into a whole Torah scroll.

See also


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