On Shabbos, six Sifrei Torah were taken from the Tzemach Tzedek shul, a 160-year-old shul in the Old City of Tzefas.
Congregants who arrived at the Shul Shabbos morning to learn before davening discovered the theft.
One of the Sifrei Torah had been donated to the shul in the memory of the late Rabbi Leib Kaplan, while another sefer Torah did not actually belong to the shul.
The police sent a non-Jewish officer to the shul to write up the first report. Sunday, a team arrived to conduct a full investigation.
“When we saw that the aron kodesh had been broken into, we all burst into tears,” said Rabbi Gavriel Marzel, the Shul’s gabbai since 1979. “We were so shocked that we couldn’t believe what had happened. Then we calmed down, especially after a police officer promised that they would do everything in their power to catch the thieves.”
Every Shabbos, more than 100 Chabad Chassidim and other local residents daven at the shul.
“For now, we have borrowed a Sefer Torah from a nearby shul in the hope that they will soon find ours,” said Rabbi Marzel.
The thieves also broke into the private lockers of the shul’s congregants. They took out pairs of tefillin and put them into a pile, but for some unknown reason they decided to leave them inside the shul. Before they left, the thieves wrapped the Sifrei Torah in the shul’s Shabbos tablecloths.
Rabbi Marzel has asked those who deal in sales of Sifrei Torah to report anything suspicious they may find.