Just a day has passed since unnamed vandals desecrated the Siach Yisroel shul in the Kiryat Yovel neighborhood of Jerusalem. Congregants arrived on Tuesday morning to find sifrei Torah strewn across the floor, splattered with acid. The rest of the synagogue was damaged by the acid as well, including the now-destroyed aron kodesh, seforim, and furniture.
The shul’s community are prominently French immigrants, thousands of which have fled European anti-semitism in recent years. For many the event was not only a reminder of the violence currently rampant in the rest of the world, but “recalls dark days in the history of the Jewish people.” (Knesset speaker Yuli Edelstein)
Jerusalem Chief Ashkenazi Rabbi HaRav Aryeh Stern stated, “We were shocked to hear about desecration of the shul in Kiryat HaYovel in Jerusalem … It is incumbent on all of us to protest against the perpetrators of the heinous crime we have seen in the difficult years of the Holocaust by the Nazis. Now we must explore our actions and strengthen our atmosphere of unity, of the people living in Tzion.”
As of now the shul is uninhabitable. An urgent fund has been started to replace the sifrei Torah, as well as the destroyed furniture. The fund’s efforts are not only to rebuild the physical structure of the synagogue, but to strengthen the unity of the Jewish people in the face of anti-semitism.
“We will not allow this tragedy to frighten us,” says campaign text. “Just as they did their best to destroy us, with yours’ and G-d’s help we will rebuild it back up to a dignified place of prayer and Torah learning, a symbol for the eternal Jewish people. Terror comes to shake us but klal yisroel will endure.”
Until sufficient funds are raised, the damaged shul, once brimming with life and mitzvot, will stand empty.
Those interested in joining the effort to rebuild the desecrated Siach Yisroel synagogue can do so here.