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Passover Marred in Belgian City by Synagogue Fire; 11 Torahs Destroyed

Passover celebrations were marred here by a fire that broke out in the Great Synagogue, leading congregation of the Orthodox community, causing the destruction of 11 Torah scrolls. Police are investigating the origin of the fire.

Officials said that the synagogue on the ground floor can be repaired, but the Beth Hamidrash on the first floor was totally destroyed despite efforts of firemen and many Jews who joined with them to fight the blaze. Many prayerbooks, phylacteries and other sacred objects also were destroyed. Damage was estimated at 7,000,000 Belgian francs ($140,000).