WEST HARTFORD, Conn. (Aug. 14)
A fire, which Fire Department investigators say was clearly the work of arsonists, destroyed the sanctuary and study hall of the Young Israel Synagogue here last week.
The fire, which was reported at 3:30 a.m. last Wednesday, destroyed many religious articles and prayer books as well as the synagogue’s main halls. The Torah scrolls suffered only minor damage. According to the Fire Department, arsonists set fires in five locations in the synagogue. There are no leads yet as to who the arsonists might be.
According to Rabbi Solomon Krupka, the spiritual leader of the congregation, there had been no significant history of vandalism against the synagogue building, which was built six years ago. He reported that the synagogue is now being tested for possible structural damage due to the fire, while the congregation is exploring the possibility of continuing its prayer services in the building’s basement. The synagogue has set up an emergency fund to completely rebuild its sanctuary and study hall, and to replace all of its religious articles and prayer books which were destroyed in the fire, Krupka said.
Harold Jacobs, president of the National Council of Young Israel, expressed his “grief and outrage at the wanton destruction of the Young Israel of West Hartford. The National Council of Young Israel will offer every possible assistance to the stricken community, including the co-operation of the Young Israel Endowment Fund in the effort to rebuild the synagogue.”
Krupka noted that there has already been a heartening response from throughout the Hartford area to the tragedy, with many individuals, both Jewish and non-Jewish, offering assistance, as well as offers of facilities from many local synagogues and churches.