Drunk Driver Rams Into Shul in Palm Springs, California

By Matis Glenn

A car reportedly driven by a drunk driver rammed into a shul in Palms Springs, California, on Shabbos morning, according to people who daven there.

The car, travelling at approximately 60 miles per hour, plowed through a wall located next to the Aron Kodesh 20 minutes after Shabbos morning davening in Chabad of Palm Springs, a large shul located on East Palm Canyon Drive. Four people – the shul’s Rabbi, and a shul member with two children – were inside at the time.

B’chasdei Hashem, nobody in the shul was injured. The driver, who was operating a Nissan Altima, sustained moderate injuries. The Aron Kodesh also, Baruch Hashem, was not damaged. The amud next to the Aron Kodesh, however, was flung across the shul.

According to a shul member, the damaged area is relatively small compared to the rest of the building. But The shul’s electrical mainframe was disabled by the impact, and after Shabbos, generators were brought in to maintain the large amount of food stored in freezers and refrigerators.

The debris and broken wall did not deter the shul from holding a minyan for Minchah and Maariv following the crash. Without electric lighting, shul members improvised, and found an area near the front door which had sufficient light from outside to daven and perform krias hatorah.

There aren’t any signs that the ramming was intentional.

One of the shul members said that the shul is expected to have electricity restored later this week, but for the time being, daily minyanim are being held in a shul member’s house.

The shul is frequented during weekday tefilos by the Satmar Rebbe, Harav Aharon Teitelbaum shlit”a, when he visits the area annually. The Rebbe was scheduled to arrive in Palm Springs on Sunday.

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