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Bronx Congregation Heartbroken After Theft Of Torah Scrolls

Torahs Stolen

Three Torahs like these were reported stolen from a synagogue in the Bronx this past weekend. (Credit: NYPD)

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NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — A small congregation in the Bronx Tuesday was mourning the loss of not just one, but three Torah scrolls, stolen from an ark in a synagogue that has seen better days.

As CBS 2’s John Slattery reported the Torahs were found stolen Sunday from the Young Israel of Mosholu Parkway Synagogue, at 100 E. 208th St., in the Bedford Park section of the Bronx.

Rabbi Zevulun Charlop, 83, has been dealt one of the worst crimes he can imagine.

“There’s nothing holier,” Charlop said. “I feel as though someone was kidnapped from us.”

Young Israel of Mosholu Parkway was a once robust congregation with hundreds of worshipers. But the congregation is now in terrible disrepair, with only a dozen members remaining.

Sometime over the last ten days, a thief entered the main ark and took three scrolls with silver crowns, a pointer, and a breastplate — valued at some $45,000 dollars a scroll.

“People are willing to pay a lot of money for it,” Rabbi Charlop said.

With the synagogue already in decline, it was an easy target.

Young Israel, however, did not lose its dozen scrolls of the prophets, and another ark, with a dozen other Torah scrolls, was locked and untouched. The main ark may have been unlocked, or someone found the key.

“The man who would do that doesn’t have much feeling about these things; can’t have feelings,” Charlop said. “I don’t know who it was.”

There was no security camera, but another security measure had been taken with the scrolls themselves.

“We do have them registered,” Charlop said. “I didn’t know until last night that we do have them registered.”

Having them registered means there is less chance they can be sold and a greater possibility that they would be identified and returned.

One such registry marks the parchment scrolls with perforations, invisible to the eye, but which can be read with equipment used in crime labs.

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