The Jewish community of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, was in great relief Wednesday to know that the Medieval Yemenite Torah Scroll was not at the National Museum in Rio, which had been engulfed by a massive fire on Sunday. For a few hours, there were rumors that the scroll had turned into ashes, but Beit Lubavitch Leblon rabbis announced the Torah scroll has been removed from the main building some time ago. The 13th century Torah scroll once belonged to the second and last monarch of the 19th century empire of Brazil, Emperor Dom Pedro II.

The Emperor established a reputation as a forward-thinking governor, who pushed through the abolition of slavery, freedom of speech and widespread education. “We deeply regret the loss of this colossal treasure in the history of Brazil,” Israel’s honorary consul in Rio, Osias Wurman, said of the building in an interview with JTA. “The only compensation was to know that the Torah of Pedro II is safe, since it was located in another building of the museum. READ MORE