Syngagogue arson ignites religious tensions in Modi’in

| July 17, 2009

The fire that gripped Modi'in's Conservative community last week has in turn ignited a fierce dispute between the city and non-Orthodox residents about who started it. Worshipers accuse ultra-Orthodox "fanatics" and complain of municipal indifference, while the city speaks of petty vandalism, adding that claiming otherwise is "reckless and disingenuous."

The fire, which was set last Sunday night, caused minor damage to the entryway and front door of the recently-dedicated Yedid Nefesh synagogue and was reported in international Jewish media.

"We were horrified by extremists who would commit such a criminal act," Reform Rabbis Nir Barkin and Kinneret Shiryon wrote this week in an open letter following the incident on behalf of the Yozma community. "Pluralism must be foreign and threatening to the perpetrators." The Reform and Conservative (or Masorti) communities of Modi'in, a city of some 70,000 residents, consist of about 300 families of whom roughly 20 percent are new immigrants from English-speaking countries, according to community leaders. The city has a few dozen ultra-Orthodox families and a very sizable modern-Orthodox contingent of thousands of households.

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Category: Synagogue/Jewish Security

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