Vandals broke into the Tiferes Yisrael Shul of Yerucham, destroying the aron kodesh and desecrating sifrei Torah. The perpetrators stole the cover of a sefer Torah and threw the klaf to the side of the road, where they lay in muddy water. The damage is estimated in the hundreds of thousands of shekels.
Tzedakah boxes were broken into, sefarim and furniture were damaged. A similar incident occurred at Yerucham’s B’levav Shalem yeshivah. The break-ins were reported promptly to the Israel Police, but residents claim that to date, nothing has been done. It is assumed that the vandals utilized the closure of the shuls due to the coronavirus restrictions.
“The entire city of Yerucham is in upheaval. There’s no one who heard about the destruction of the Torah scrolls and was left unaffected. The sorrow and shock belong to our city’s entire community, regardless of affiliation. No one believes that we’ve witnessed something like this,” said Harav Yitzchak Shalev, Rav of Yerucham, adding: “All of us want to adhere to all of the authorities’ health guidelines, and this we must, but it is unthinkable that davka because of the current crisis, shuls and sifrei Torah should be damaged. We must understand that a sefer Torah, wherever it is, is not the sefer Torah of this shul or that, or this family or that – it’s a sefer Torah of the entire Jewish people, and desecrating the sefer Torah is no less than desecrating the honor of the entire Jewish people.”
In commenting on the slow response of the police, and how best to pick up the pieces in the wake of this tragedy, Rav Shalev commented: “We demand quick and efficient intervention from all the authorities in this issue. We all have an obligation to protest, in honor of all that is holy, and the best way to do that right now is to participate in the cost of fixing the scrolls. The vandals tried to harm what is holy to us and take it away from us … and therefore we must add on more holiness. We must show that desecration of a sefer Torah touches all of us.”