Thursday, December 28, 2017

Second synagogue is vandalised in Iran

Popular violence against Jews in Iran has been rare, but the 8,000-member community has been shaken by two incidents in the last week in the city of Shiraz.  A second synagogue has been reported vandalised, with attackers damaging Torah scrolls, prayer books and ritual objects. JTA and The Times of Israel have the story: (with thanks: Michelle)

The city’s Kashi Synagogue was attacked Sunday night, while the Hadash synagogue was attacked Monday afternoon, according to Sam Kermanian, senior adviser to the Iranian-American Jewish Federation, who has been in touch with Jews from Shiraz. The local Jewish community believes the attacks were committed by more than one person, but does not know who perpetrated them.

An earlier report by a member of the Shiraz Jewish community on the vandalism at the Hadash synagogue was broadcast by Israel’s Channel 10 on Wednesday. The community member said the damage was documented by a pair of journalists and three local Jews.

Blurry footage aired by the television channel purported to show the damage in the synagogue.

“Obviously they are scared,” Kermanian told JTA. “They’re not comfortable speaking freely, but overall, life goes on.”
The vandals ripped Torah scrolls, which are written on parchment, as well as some 100 prayer books, some of which were thrown in the toilet. They damaged and “soiled” prayer shawls and tefillin, the leather phylacteries traditionally worn by men during prayers. The attackers also broke glass and stole silver ornaments that adorned the synagogues’ Torah scrolls.

“In light of these clearly anti-Semitic incidents we call upon the authorities in the Islamic Republic of Iran to ensure the protection of all places of worship as well as all members of our community, and to bring the perpetrators of these criminal acts to justice,” read a statement by leaders of the Iranian-American Jewish Federation.

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