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South Bronx Synagogue Smeared with Swastikas and Set Afire; Second in Two Weeks

A South Bronx synagogue was smeared with swastikas and set afire today, but the fire was discovered and put out before it caused major damage. Minsker Congregation was vacant when the fire broke out. It was set in a pile of rags and prayer books in the lobby of the building, where the damage was confined. Firemen found three cans of naphtha, a volatile cleaning fluid in the basement of the synagogue and two cans of paint, which were apparently used for a two-foot-high white swastika and a four-foot-high black swastika on a wall of the lobby. Two weeks ago a case of arson occurred at Congregation Ahavath Torah, also in the Bronx. Rabbi Abraham Gross, President of the Rabbinical Alliance of America, concerned about the many recent fires that have engulfed synagogues and yeshivas causing in many cases the holy Torahs to become cinders, issued a call to all synagogues to fireproof the Holy Ark in which the Torahs are kept.