Photo Credit: Courtesy SA Jewish Board of Deputies
Cape Town firefighter rescuing sacred books from burning synagogue, Dec. 4, 2018

A blaze destroyed the roof of Beit Midrash Morasha synagogue in Sea Point, Cape Town, South Africa on Tuesday night. No injuries were reported, but the fire that tore through the building reportedly destroyed seven Torah scrolls.

Cape Town synagogue fire, Dec. 4, 2018 / Courtesy SA Jewish Board of Deputies

A spokesman for Cape Town’s fire Dept. reported that “at just before 11 PM, the city’s fire and rescue services responded to a synagogue that was alight in Arthurs Road, Sea Point. Twenty-two firefighters, four fire engines, one aerial appliance and a rescue vehicle responded to the incident. No injuries were reported. The cause of the fire at this stage is undetermined.

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The Cape Council of the South African Jewish Board of Deputies thanked the firefighters for their bravery.

Rael Kaimowitz, chairman of the Cape SAJBD, issued a statement saying: “A massive fire has engulfed the Beit Midrash Morasha synagogue in Sea Point, Cape Town. Our heartfelt prayers are with Rabbi Thurgood and the entire congregation. The SAJBD (Cape Council) can confirm on behalf of the synagogue that there are no injuries. Investigators report no signs of foul play at this stage and await the outcome of a full investigation.

“The City of Cape Town fire and rescue services need to be thanked for their bravery as they battle this blaze. We know that every effort is being made to save any holy books and religious articles. Once we have more information, we will post further updates on our Facebook page.”

The SAJBD Facebook page also asked local Jews to “please join us in Sea Point for the 6:30 AM Shacharit Minyan, outside the beloved ‘Arthurs Rd Shul.’ Let’s stand together as a community. May the light of Chanukah illuminate this terrible darkness.”

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