Historic Synagogue Devastated After Theft of Six Torahs

| May 10, 2012

Residents of the northern Israeli city of Safed are in shock after the discovery of six Torah scrolls stolen from the historic Tzemach Tzedek Synagogue. But even as police continue their investigation into the Friday night theft, members of the local community have commissioned the writing of a new Torah scroll in the hope that their good deeds will aid the recovery of the missing holy items.

“All the doors were open, the window bars were cut, the curtain was pulled aside, and the ark was empty,” stated Rabbi Gavriel Marzel, a Chabad-Lubavitch emissary and director of the synagogue.

Marzel, who also directs Chabad of the Old City of Safed with his wife, Shterna Sara Marzel, discovered the Torah scrolls missing when he arrived early for Sabbath prayer services Saturday morning. The ark – a cabinet built to house Torah scrolls and other religious items – was in the process of being replaced with a more secure structure.

Community member Nechama Caplan’s husband Shraga was among the first people there that morning.

“My husband went to shul bit early on Shabbat morning and returned home shortly after to tell me that the Torahs had been stolen,” she related. “He was ashen and visibly shaken.”

Services were relocated to the Chabad House, and another community member lent his personal Torah scroll for use during the Sabbath morning reading.

“My children and I were obviously very upset,” said Caplan, 41, who moved to the city fromo Philadelphia last July. “All day we kept telling ourselves in disbelief that the Torahs had been stolen.”

Caplan encouraged her children to recite extra chapters of Psalms in the merit of the Torah scrolls’ return.

“They say, ‘Please G-d, bring us our Torah scrolls back!’ ” said Caplan.



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Category: Synagogue/Jewish Security

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