I had never before stood so close to a Torah scroll; I didn't recognize it at first. I knew the object only as the property of old men in the synagogue I reluctantly attended once a year. But then I did recognize it, and began to shake. This was wrong, evil. I felt the same as on the morning, many years ago, when I was awakened by a minor earthquake that hit the metropolitan area, and watched from my bed as the books and knicknacks on my shelves began to dance and shudder. Then, and at this moment in the musem, I felt something in my bones... an offense against nature, an obscenity, as if my insides were about to rip apart just like the parchment. I felt like my shoulders were being held down against my will as I watched a murder that had been in process for the past 50 years.
I couldn't look at the scroll any longer. I panicked, disoriented. Gasping for breath, I ran out of the room and into the next, a white vestibule designed for the very purpose of allowing witnesses to this horror a moment to collect their thoughts.
(To be continued.)