A man, , who is reportedly known to be mentally unstable, tried to set fire to the Pardes Nissim shul on Harav Herzog Street in Bnei Brak Tuesday night. The arson attempt was discovered at dawn, when the shul’s Rav arrived for the netz.
Security footage from the shul shows a man trying to break down the shul’s door using a crowbar. When he fails, he circles the building, finds an open window, and enters the building through it.
He allegedly set a scrap of newspaper on fire and tried to use it to set some sefarim on fire. When the fire spread, the man fled the scene.
Shul officials filed a complaint with police Wednesday morning. “The sifrei Torah were saved from enormous damage,” says the shul’s Rav, Rabbi Shalom Yehuda Peretz.
“Miraculously, even though the flame was on a table and the amud that was covered with a tablecloth, the fire went out by itself after about 15 minutes,” the Rav said.
Sources said that the identity of the man is known, both to the residents and to the police, but his motives are unclear.
“Hopefully he will be caught soon and find his place in the place he deserves,” says one of the mispallelim in the shul.