Monday, February 26, 2007

Idiots or Anti-Semites? Why Choose?

On Thursday night, some local (idiots? drunks? no-goodniks?) broke into one of our synagogues and got drunk, or continued to get drunk, and decided it would be fun to rip up some copies of the Talmud, and desecrate the Torah scrolls. Read the local paper's story

The "good" news is that:
  • a neighbor called the cops fairly quickly upon seeing suspicious activity (thank you, neighbor!)

  • It seems like the vandalism was just an afterthought, since from all accounts they broke in looking for a place to party, not because it was a synagogue (it doesn't look much like one from the outside)

  • The *entire* local Jewish community (and interfaith community), regardless of denomination, is rallying together to make sure the Orthodox community still has a place to pray and a valid Torah scroll to use, and to feel supported

The weird thing about this event is that something similar happened years ago at another local synagogue, where some hoodlums broke in, got drunk on Manishevitz (poor guys), ripped the Torah scrolls, and stole some things.

So, should we feel a little better because the violence was spontaneous, and not premeditated? Can you imagine something like this happening if they realized the place they broke into was a church? Would they have broken in anyway if they knew ahead of time that it was a synagogue?

I'm wondering this as we lay the foundations for a new synagogue building in a residential neighborhood, debating issues like where to put the sign (name) - how big should it be? do we *want* people to notice us? should we put it behind a plexiglass screen to protect it from vandalism? what kind of protection do we want for the entrance to the school?

And most of all, I wonder how I will explain things like this to my son, when he is old enough to ask questions.


Blogger Mrs. Jude said...

Yes I read about this... I still think that you don't go ripping up a torah scroll for nothing.. I don't care what the police say. The jewish review office in portland got broken into too recently...The police are brushing that off as well.

2/26/2007 2:40 PM  
Anonymous The Back of the Hill said...

I do not think of myself as given to paranoia. But I doubt that their destruction was entirely haphazard.

And there is a little too loud an echo of drunken Cossacks.

2/26/2007 4:28 PM  

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