Photo Credit: CCTV screenshot
2 Muslim Women Enter Miami Beach Synagogue

Here’s one thing ISIS has contributed to religious discourse: inquiries by strangers about one’s religion are no longer welcome. A case in point has to do with two Muslim women wearing hijabs, who entered a Miami Beach Orthodox synagogue this week and asked many questions, saying they were on a spiritual quest, and scared some members of the congregation who called police, as WSVN Miami Beach, Fla. Reported Wednesday.

The two women approached Shay Zamora, a member of the synagogue who was sitting outside the sanctuary and started to interrogate him. “The questions basically were, ‘What are the lecture times here and when do people come for lectures?'” said Zamora. “It was very odd. They actually, eventually, conveyed to me, that they were Muslim.”


Then one of the women took out a Koran. “I explained the similarities, that Arabic is also written from right to left,” Zamora said.

According to a police incident report, the women asked their Jewish host, “Did you have services already?” and “when are you saying Yizkor?”

Yizkor, a prayer commemorating the dead, is recited only on Torah holidays, usually on the last day of the holiday.

Zamora escorted the two women outside and then called security, just to be on the safe side. “I was trying to understand the purpose of all this,” he said. “The purpose of the engagement, the purpose of the content of the conversation.”

According to WSVN, the same two women visited the same synagogue on Friday of last week, and also asked questions of the members. Police told the CBS affiliate they believe one of the women has terminal cancer and she and her mother have been visiting different houses of worship to learn about different religions, possibly to receive divine healing.

North Miami Beach Police released a statement saying, “At this point, we don’t believe there is a public safety threat.”

Rabbi Yona Lunger told the TV station, “We gotta’ be vigilant, we can’t be vigilantes.”

Which is as sensible a conclusion as one could venture at this point.


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  1. About 6 years ago, in our small shul in the mountain northwest, near a university campus, a similar situation occurred. A man and woman approached the building before Erev Shabbat services and the man immediately began asking red flag questions: when are the most people in the building, is someone in the building every day, how many people came…etc? The young man was wearing an odd looking coat which he would not remove. With an open door policy to truth seekers, we walked a fine line and breathed a sigh of relief
    at the end of services that evening. The FBI investigated and determined that the two people were studying at the university and he was from Uzbekistan. His story was that he just wanted to get help to bring his mother out of Uzbekistan. There are no Jews in Uzbekistan so this story didn't wash but was nothing to provoke arrest. The FBI provided a bomb sniffing dog before high holiday services, and recommended an armed security guard at the door. Better safe than sorry.

  2. It's to bad that because of Actions of Extreamist's Religious Curiosity is treated this way I'm not faulting anyone's reaction they were being careful trying to avoid Tragedy. People just, looking to understand, looking for Healing through God without Violent Intent would cause such Fear. It shows the Terrorists are winning.

  3. JJ Mcgann tragic we can't ask question's of people of other religions and, cultures without being suspected of intent to commit violence. No, I am not Muslim I'm Christian maybe that is why I see the Tragedy in it
    God Bless you Mr. JJ. PEACE be with us all no matter what religion we practice

  4. In 1968, two Arab students at my college told me, "It is a point of honor among Arabs never to tell the truth to an enemy." One would think if they were unhappy with their religion and just seeking info they would have tried not to look threatening. And questions about crowds and numbers are also not the questions of somone on a spiritual quest–but they are the questions of someone gathering data for someone with a nefarious purpose.

  5. North Miami Beach Police, “…..don’t believe there is a public safety threat.” – until this Synagogue or another goes boom with a crowd inside. Tjhen they will wring their hands and say we dont know the motive. It might have been workplace violence..

  6. Harry, You need to wake up to R E A L I T Y. How can your memory be so short as to have forgotten Paris and San Bernardino and Ft Hood and Chatanooga, and the DC Navy Yard. Wake up man, get your head out and stop sniffing the flatulence gases. Now here’s a chore for you:
    Ponder this, then be ready to give an answer to the survivors of a bombing and the families of those who dont survive.

  7. Sharon Pishner Sharon, I know for whom you meant the question but I thot Id answer myself. Yes I did lose a distant relative in the South Tower in 9/11 and a good friend was on the plane that rammed the Pentagon. People like Harry never seem to learn. Yet they will scream bloody murder if/when it happens to them or as you asked – a loved one. Shalom.

  8. If these women had been seeking knowledge about Judaism they might have looked online first. If they had wanted a Jew's opinion they might have asked Shay Zamora which websites were best before starting their online journey. They might even have asked for the titles of some suggested books to read. But the questions that they asked were not those of truth seekers. They were those of predators scoping out their prey's usual habits to better hunt them. One would not expect wildebeest to let the hyenas know what time their herd planned to visit the local watering hole and one should not expect Jews to let their sworn enemies (read the Koran and Hadith if you think they're not) know when they're all going to be in the same place at the same time.

  9. This whole situation is so sad. Not everyone uses the internet as their primary or first reference, Diana Forgy. They may indeed have been on a spiritual quest. I have had so many wonderful Muslim students when I taught middle school. Their beautiful faces are always before me when I read the news. I know that not all Muslims are terrorists. I know the pain that my students felt at the suspicion that they had to face every day. I am not naive about terrorism, but the solution is not to demonize all Muslims.

  10. It's a toss of the coin these days whether to be sympathetic or suspicious. I live alone in the woods, which enables me the luxury of being suspicious of everyone who appears without invitation…. if my dog growls instead of standing quietly, you are not a good person. I trust his G_d-given instincts.

  11. Easy > offer to escort the Ladies home and check out their home scene while you're at it. Arrange a meeting with them – with your Rabbi present – at another venue. If they were serious, they shall agree.

    No Jews anywhere should allow themselves to be lax – too many 'innocent' Muslims have caused harm to trusting Jews lately – prevention is better than cure!

  12. Are we idiots?? I heard there was a Muslim man and woman asking some kids near one of the synagogues, when the busiest time is. Why ask a child. Unless you don't want to be suspicious! How do we know this person is dying of cancer? Just because she said so? A terrorist can say anything! Besides if that's the case, then for sure they are staging an attack, because they don't care if they die in the process! Unfortunately, we've had too many examples… Did they ask her if she went to a Church asking when the is the busiest time? For sure, it's the first steps to staging a massacre and the Rabbi as well as the FBI should take this very seriously!!!!!!!

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