Synagogue Uses Craigslist To Recover Stolen Torah

| October 30, 2010

PHOENIX — An ad placed on Craigslist by a Phoenix synagogue was instrumental in the return of a Torah that was stolen earlier in the week, according to the synagogue's president.

Farley Weiss, president of the Young Israel Synagogue of Phoenix, said an ad offering a $500 reward for the Torah was placed on Craigslist soon after the Torah was discovered missing on Monday.

On Friday, a woman answered the ad and the Torah was back in its rightful place.

"It's all intact, with everything that was taken, including the silver breastplate on the Torah and the silver pointer we use," Weiss said. "Oh, tremendous relief."

Weiss said a woman contacted the synagogue soon after the ad was placed and told them she learned about the theft on television news and claimed to have found the Torah in a Dumpster at night.

Weiss said they exchanged e-mails and the synagogue had asked for its return Friday, before the next Sabbath.

Weiss said a "churchgoing woman" who teaches at Sunday school unexpectedly appeared Friday with the Torah. She said her sister had found the missing item in the trash and had given to her, Weiss said.

Weiss said the theft left "such a void in the shul and for everybody in the family."

He said someone had to spend a lot of time breaking into the synagogue, or shul, to take the Torah, but added that he believes the woman who returned the sacred item.

"We have no reason not to believe what this person said, that they had nothing to do with the crime," he said.

Phoenix police detectives said they are continuing to follow up on the case and no arrests have been made.

Sgt. Tommy Thompson of the Phoenix Police Department said earlier this week the Torah and several other religious items were missing early Monday when a burglary was discovered at the Young Israel Synagogue on Maryland Avenue near Seventh Street.

The Torah is the most revered article in a Jewish synagogue.
 

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Category: Synagogue/Jewish Security