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December 5, 2016 / 5 Kislev, 5777

Posts Tagged ‘synagogue’

NJ Resident Convicted of Setting Fire to Synagogue, Rabbi’s Home

Sunday, May 29th, 2016

Lodi, NJ, resident Anthony Graziano, 24, on Friday was found guilty on 20 counts of terrorism and faces up to life in prison, for vandalizing and firebombing Jewish synagogues and a rabbi’s home in 2012. Graziano’s sentencing will take place in July. Graziano was charged together with his friend, Aakash Dalal.

The two attackers started a fire in the Rutherford, NJ bedroom of a rabbi, who was asleep at the time, as were his wife, their five children and the rabbi’s parents.

Graziano’s attorney argued that his client did not wish to harm anyone, and he plans to appeal.

David Israel

Judge Awards Newport, RI Synagogue to Congregation Despite NY Landlord’s Claim

Tuesday, May 17th, 2016

Federal Judge John J. McConnell Jr. ruled in favor of Jeshuat Israel which resides in Touro Synagogue in Newport, RI, and against Shearith Israel of New York which had claimed ownership of the edifice and its contents, the NY Times reported Monday.

The $7.4 million dispute between two of America’s oldest Jewish congregations erupted in 2011, when the Newport Touro synagogue congregation, known as Jeshuat Israel (Heb: salvation of Israel), offered to sell the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston two silver Torah ornaments called “rimonim” (Heb: pomegranates) for $7.4 million. But the ornaments, like the rest of the synagogue, were the property of Congregation Shearith Israel, currently residing on West 70th Street in New York, and they were not amused when they heard of the sale.

Shearith Israel trustee Michael Katz testified that “we were aghast that they were doing this without informing us in advance. We considered it a violation of the lease. We considered it a violation of trust, and it upset us very, very much.”

Back in the early 1900s, the NY congregation leased the Touro building to a newcomer Jewish congregation in Newport for $1 a year (which, in today’s value, comes to $1.87). They didn’t believe this generous lease empowered the tenants to sell off parts of the synagogue.

Bea Ross, of the Newport congregation, testified that she had informed Katz of the sale, but not directly. In 2009, there was a Forward article about the sale of the rimonim, and she and Katz talked about it over the phone. Apparently, that call didn’t leave as much of an impression on Katz.

The $7.4 million rimonim / Newmans, Ltd. report

The $7.4 million rimonim / Newmans, Ltd. report

Members of the Newport congregation told the court that the reason they had to sell the ornaments—which were made by Jewish American Silversmith Myer Myers (1723-1795)—was that their numbers were starting to dwindle and they could no longer afford to pay a rabbi.

Rabbi Marc Mandel, formerly the associate rabbi of Beth Jacob Congregation in Beverly Hills, Ca. has been the Jeshuat Israel spiritual leader since 2011.

Incidentally, the reason the NY congregation has owned the Newport synagogue in the first place had to do with the declining numbers of Newport’s Jews in the late 18th century, when Shearith Israel took over the building and remained its caretaker as it stood empty for almost a hundred years.

Katz told the court that his congregation saw itself as strictly the landlord of the Newport synagogue, and not responsible for its financial problems (they had come asking for help).

On the face of it, the case looked like it should have gone to the New York congregation, but the local paper, Times Argus, reported prior to the trial that the state of Rhode Island was monitoring the case and planned to intervene with the judge to make sure “justice would be done.” Now the ruling has cleared the way for Jeshuat Israel to sell the rimonim, valued at $7.4 million—there are 130 members left in the congregation, so “justice” in this case could net them $57,000 each, before court costs. Or it could pay the rabbi’s salary and maintenance.

“The central issue here is the legacy of some of the earliest Jewish settlers in North America, who desired to make Newport a permanent haven for public Jewish worship,” Judge McConnell wrote in a 106-page decision, disregarding the fact that said legacy had been interrupted for as long as a century, and that what he facilitated was the removing of $7.4 million from the possession of a New York congregation, its legal owner, and handing it over to a local group that couldn’t pay its own way.

JNi.Media

Suitcase Bomb Scare at Oslo Synagogue

Sunday, May 15th, 2016

Oslo Police closed off a large area surrounding the Jewish society Det Mosaiske Trossamfund’s synagogue on Friday morning and sent in a bomb squad, in response to a suitcase that had been left outside the synagogue at around 4 AM, The Local reported. Surrounding streets were blocked off, but Police did not at any point evacuate the area, which includes a school and a daycare center.

They were able to call off the alarm shortly after 11 AM.

“The suitcase turned out to be empty. The barricades will remain on Bergstien. Other roadblocks have been removed. No suspect in the case. The case is closed,” Oslo Police tweeted.

Police said that video surveillance cameras recorded a man, described as dark-skinned and dressed in dark clothing, placing the bag at the entrance to the synagogue.

“The timing and the location are what make us want to investigate the suitcase. We are assuming that there could be anything in that suitcase,” a police spokesman told broadcaster NRK.

Det Mosaiske Trossamfund board member Michael Grizman thanked police for their “quick reaction.” He told news agency NTB that Police “handled the situation in a good way and all the necessary precautions were taken.”

Friday’s incident was the second time police has had to send a bomb squad to the Oslo synagogue. In March 2015 a man was seen running out of a building across the street from the synagogue, then leaving a bag outside the edifice. The bag turned out not to contain anything dangerous.

However, in September 2006 shots were fired at the synagogue, and since then Police have stepped-up patrols in the area.

JNi.Media

FBI Sting Gets Man Who Planned to Bomb Florida Synagogue

Monday, May 2nd, 2016

The FBI arrested a man who was planning to throw an explosive device into an Aventura, south Florida synagogue, WSVN reported. The arrest followed an FBI sting intended to foil a terror attack at the Aventura Turnberry Jewish Center, last Friday evening. According to WSVN, FBI agents posing as terrorists stopped the suspect, who may have converted to Islam.

According to sources, the suspect wanted to throw “some type of explosive device” over the wall of the center on Friday night, which was the last day of Passover and the center was crowded.

“I think about, before we had a baby, that we used to go there for services, and God forbid, it could have been us,” local resident Stephanie Levine told WSVN. “Thank God they stopped him, but had they not, it would have been such a horrible thing to happen to this neighborhood.”

But the same sources said the center was not in danger at any time, because the suspect was taken into custody before he was able to cause any damage.

“Of course it surprised me,” local resident Richard Levinson told WSVN. “Everybody says, ‘I live in a small town. It doesn’t happen here,’ but the sad part is, it happens everywhere.”

And local resident Kim Tepper said she was not surprised, because “it’s a very scary world, and you know what? I don’t think that anybody is safe anywhere. We’d always thought, living in this area, that we could be targeted, so now you’re kind of confirming that for me. Not happy.”

The suspect will appear in federal court this week.

David Israel

Marseille Synagogue Becomes Mosque, French Muslims Want Churches Converted As Well

Wednesday, April 27th, 2016

The Or Thora synagogue on Rue Saint-Dominique in Marseille, established in 1962, has been purchased by the Al Badr organization, which runs a small mosque on the same street, The Local reported. The sale is under review by the city council and it is expected that the new mosque will open for business in a few months.

Zvi Ammar, President of the Marseille Israelite Consistory, said the move was positive. “For the past 20 years or so we have seen the shift of the Jewish community to other neighborhoods,” he said, adding, “We all have the same God, the main thing is for this to proceed in harmony.”

In January, Ammar said that the Jews of Marseille should avoid wearing their yarmulkes on the street. So much for harmony.

Marseille’s Jewish population has left the city center for the suburbs in recent years, and the Or Thora synagogue sometimes has fewer than ten worshippers at services. Meanwhile, the mosque down the street has been full to capacity during Friday services, with people forced to pray outside on the pavement.

Marseille’s 70,000 Jews are among Europe’s largest Jewish communities. Out of the city’s two million residents, an estimated 220,000 are Muslim.

France has an estimated 2,500 mosques, with another 300 under construction, but demand is even higher, according to some Muslim leaders. Dalil Boubakeur, Rector of the Grand Mosque in Paris, told Europe1 radio that some of France’s 40,000 churches should be turned into mosques. He said, “It’s a delicate issue, but why not?”

Why, indeed?

David Israel

Anti-Semitic Protesters Demand Kremlin Outlaw Chabad in Russia

Thursday, April 21st, 2016

In the city Perm, about 870 miles east of Moscow, a crowd of 100 people gathered last weekend to demand that Moscow outlaw the Chabad-Lubavitch movement in Russia. It’s not the first time anti-Semites in Perm have tried to rid the city of Chabad, and Jews.

The event that ignited this particular protest was the grant of a plot of land to the local Jewish community, headed by a Chabad emissary, by the government. No fees were charged for the transfer of land.

Last Saturday, the protesters appeared with picket signs that read, “Liberate Us Russians from Chabad” and “Chabad Out!” Another protester held a sign that showed just how deeply ingrained his anti-Semitism really is: “Chabad Settlement Is Over The Line: 1547.”

The reference is to the Grand Prince of Moscow, Ivan the Terrible, who rendered a decision in 1547 to ban all Jews from living and/or even entering his kingdom, because they “bring about great evil.”

In 2013, unidentified vandals hurled a firebomb at the synagogue in Perm in attempt to torch the Chabad-affiliated Jewish house of worship.

That attack came just a day after a popular Russian blogger had written a vicious post slamming a ceremony bringing a new Torah scroll to the local Perm synagogue. “Lubavitcher Chassidim will host a torch parade in Perm and demand to close the streets to traffic,” the blogger wrote, as translated and related by the Shturem website.

“Three hundred guests are expected to attend, including guests from the U.S., Israel and Russia. Economist Mikhail Doliagin stressed that these are Lubavitcher Chassidim who sued Russia in the United States, and managed that the verdict with a monetary fine for holding the Schneerson Library in Russia. Instead of giving Chabad privileges, all Lubavitch activities should be banned throughout Russia.”

The talkbacks on that article reflected the virulent anti-Semitism that is usually masked by politically-correct public diplomacy.

“All pro-Russians must band together. They all the intellectuals out, now they want the books as well.”

“Chassidim are a religio-political sect that worships the dollar, meaning the USA. Their agenda is to destroy Russia, through lies and deceit that they propagate in the media.”

During a meeting in Moscow with World Jewish Congress President Ronald Lauder this past Tuesday (April 19, 2016) President Vladimir Putin said,“Russian Jewish organizations are making a substantial contribution in the cause of domestic political stability in Russia, for which we are very grateful.”

Putin has been directly and indirectly responsible for the allocation of land grants – free of charge – to numerous Jewish, Christian and Muslim community and faith groups. Some of those grants came as restitution for property stolen during the Soviet era.

Hana Levi Julian

Small Synagogue at Karmei Tzur Demolished in Civil Administration Pre-Dawn Stealth Move

Thursday, March 31st, 2016

A small synagogue recently rebuilt at the site of the Givat Soreq outpost on the outskirts of Karmei Tzur was demolished by Civil Administration forces before dawn Thursday in accordance with instructions from the Defense Ministry, according to the Hebew-language 0404 website.

It was in this same synagogue that sacred texts were set ablaze two months ago by Arab terrorists, a hate crime carried out by those in nearby Halhul.

Just a few days ago, holy books had been donated to the newly-rebuilt house of worship. But by Thursday 9 am, not a trace remained of the solid cement-block structure upon which the community’s rabbi had placed a mezuzah.

Outraged residents told 0404, “Thousands of illegally-built Arab homes and other structures exist, but the Defense Minister in his ignorance destroys a synagogue established in the memory of three Israeli teens who were kidnaped and murdered (by Hamas terrorists). It’s clear that it’s worth it to continue burning – because instead of dealing with the Arabs, the Jews are destroying themselves.”

It would indeed seem that perhaps the defense establishment has become confused about who it’s supposed to be defending and where retaliation is appropriate in political or military terms.

Karmei Tzur has been under siege from its Arab neighbors since the start of the current wave of terror, and has not shied away from the challenge.

Barely two weeks ago, about 500 Israelis marched from Karmei Tzur to the Gush Etzion junction to demonstrate against terror.

The marchers blocked Highway 60, a main north-south artery, in both directions as they demanded that deterrence be restored. The move came in the wake of a series of deadly attacks in the Gush Etzion region.

The timing of the demolition of the synagogue and the stealth with which it was carried out raises the question of whether the move came in retaliation for the community’s activism.

At the start of this month, Arab squatters returned to the Wadi Rashrash valley near Karmei Tzur – six months after they had been ejected by the IDF Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT). Arabs had started to build a road there and were using the wadi as a garbage dump.

The area has been under processing for declaration as state land for some time. The violation was reported but it is not clear whether the government followed up.

Karmei Tzur has been repeatedly traumatized during this wave of terror. On February 24 one of the community’s founders and leading residents, IDF reserve Captain Eliav Gelman was killed in a stabbing attack at the nearby Gush Etzion junction. He was stabbed by an Arab terrorist who was then shot by IDF soldiers, who also hit Gelman by accident in the crossfire. Gelman was rushed to Shaare Zedek Medical Center in Jerusalem but could not be saved. He is survived by his pregnant wife and two young children.

Earlier that month, on February 9 an armed 16-year-old female Arab terrorist tried to infiltrate Karmei Tzur at the start of the day, dressed for school.

A resident of the community alerted the guard, who then warned the young wannabe stabber to drop her weapon – a kitchen knife – which she did.

The blade had clearly been sharpened, most likely after watching an Internet video of a sermon by one of the numerous radical Islamist clerics who urge their followers to murder Jews. They include detailed instructions on how to carry out those killings, complete with directions on how to sharpen the knives.

Three days prior to that attempted terror attack, Arab arsonists attacked the little synagogue on February 6 at Givat Sorek, the neighborhood on the outskirts of Karmei Tzur.

Hana Levi Julian

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/small-synagogue-at-karmei-tzur-demolished-in-civil-administration-pre-dawn-stealth-move/2016/03/31/

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