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Two Dorchester Synagogues Desecrated by Fire; Catholic Diocese, Naacp, Voice Outrage

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The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Boston and the local branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People have joined area Jews in voicing sympathy and outrage over the desecration by fire of two Dorchester synagogues. A fire set in the ark of Congregation Chevra Shaas destroyed the Torah scroll, while two back rooms were vandalized. Two fires in Congregation Agudath Israel gutted the Beth Midrash and its contents, the front of the synagogue and parts of the main sanctuary. The Hadrath Israel synagogue, located between Chevra Shaas and Agudath Israel, was skipped by the vandals. The Rev. Michael F. Groden, urban planning director of the Catholic Archdiocese, declared: “Violence of this kind directed against the most sacred values of Jewish tradition imperils the very foundation of our society…Outraged as they have every right to be, the members of the Jewish community are urged to look upon this desecration as the work of a few sick members of society already sadly divided and tormented by crime and violence…Good people of every creed, every race and calling must join in brotherhood now to save our city and country.” Leon T. Nelson, president of Boston NAACP, called the destruction “a deplorable and regrettable act.” Similar expressions were made by the Mayor’s Office of Human Rights, Youth Inc. and area rabbis. The Torah and other burned religious articles were buried in a Jewish cemetery, in line with Judaic law.

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