The Krakow Torah was written over 100 years ago, around 1921, in Krakow, Poland. In the midst of the Holocaust, in 1940, the Torah was rescued and brought to San Francisco, CA where it was housed in a Jewish day school and used by Jewish students. After years of storage and underuse, the Torah was in need of significant repair. Our dear Hillel Torah grandparents, Laurie and Bernard Hasten, whose connections to Krakow hold significance, restored the Krakow Torah with the express goal that it once again be used by Jewish students.
We are privileged and honored that the Hastens have chosen to house the Krakow Torah at Hillel Torah. Our students will learn from the Torah year after year and feel a direct connection to those who perished in the Holocaust and those who survived.
Longtime leaders of the school, the Hastens embarked on this project in honor of their dear parents, Simona & Hart Hasten and Linda & Murray Laulicht, whose lives have been dedicated to Jewish leadership and Holocaust remembrance. This project, the proceeds of which will fund Holocaust programming and education at Hillel Torah in perpetuity, will honor their commitment and help connect the past, present, and future, מדור לדור.
On October 30, 2022, ה’ חשון תשפ”ג, the Torah restoration was completed and we celebrated a joyous and inspiring Hachnasat Sefer Torah with the entire community to welcome the Torah into its new home. The very next day our students began using the Torah at morning minyan.
All proceeds from the campaign will benefit Hillel Torah Holocaust education in perpetuity.
The Krakow Torah Restoration Project has been generously underwritten by Laurie and Bernard Hasten.
We have a robust and full Holocaust education program at Hillel Torah with events and studies at key points throughout the school year. The pillar of our Holocaust studies, currently in its 12th year, is the Names, Not Numbers© documentary film project.
Through the Names, Not Numbers project, each year our 8th grade students meet, get to know, and interview Holocaust survivors. Through these interviews, students are given the unique opportunity to interact with survivors, capture their important testimonies, commit them to film, and ensure their messages will never be forgotten. The Names, Not Numbers curriculum, transforms traditional history lessons into a lively, interactive, experiential program that involves individuals who have actually lived through the history being taught.
While Names, Not Numbers is a project of the 8th grade, Hillel Torah students in every grade benefit from having Holocaust Survivors in the building. All our students, from kindergarten through middle school, know when the Survivors are here being interviewed by the 8th graders, and feel a direct connection to the Survivors, the younger students especially are awed by their presence.
In conjunction with the Names, Not Numbers program, our Holocaust education is thoughtfully integrated into classroom instruction and cross-grade assemblies at appropriate times throughout the school year, including opportunities to hear first-hand accounts from Survivors.