WASHINGTON (Aug. 23)
An Orthodox synagogue on the edge of the District of Columbia has been vandalized so badly and desecrated so many times that the situation “calls for something more than ordinary policing,” The Jewish Week, Washington’s newspaper, reported here.
The house of worship is the Young Israel Shomrai Emunah Synagogue, located in Hyattsville, just across from the boundary of the District of Columbia. The Jewish Week quoted the synagogue’s spiritual leader, Rabbi Gedalish Anemer, as reporting that, in four raids within a five-day period, vandals smashed 40 windows, some of these dedicated to the memories of deceased members; tore up Holy Scrolls; spilled wine on prayer shawls; broke a Star of David decoration separating the men’s section from the women’s section; defaced walls; and burst open locked doors.
Rabbi Anemer said there had been previous attacks against the synagogue, during prayer services, but that he had refrained from publicizing those actions for fear of offending persons living in the community whose teenage children were believed responsible. Now, however, Simon L. Cain, president of the neighborhood’s citizens’ association, pledged that everything possible will be done to prevent further desecrations, by either adults or children.
One police official in the area said the synagogue was being vandalized because many nearby residents believe it had been abandoned. The house of worship, opened eight years ago, had many scientists among its members. More recently, however, many of those members have shifted to a synagogue in Silver Spring.