Moscow’s Main Shul Attacked by Stone-throwing Vandals

Moscow’s main synagogue was attacked by stone-throwing vandals this past weekend, who left behind broken windows and painted swastikas, the World Jewish Congress reported.

In a letter to WJC Secretary-General Israel Singer, Moscow Chief Rabbi Pinchas Goldschmidt said the Moscow Choral Synagogue was attacked at about 3 p.m. Saturday by a gang of hooligans chanting anti-Semitic slogans.

The letter asked WJC President Edgar Bronfman to intervene with Russian authorities on behalf of the synagogue.

Although the police were called while the attack was in progress, they failed to arrive on the scene, according to Goldschmidt.

“We are concerned with the lack of concern from authorities, after we have repeatedly asked for a police post outside the main synagogue,” Goldschmidt wrote in his letter.

“We would like to ask Mr. Edgar Bronfman to intercede on our behalf, to make sure that the security of the Jewish community will be taken seriously, such that insult should not be followed by injury.”

Singer said his organization has contacted the Russian ambassador in Washington “to make clear that this situation is intolerable.”

According to the National Conference on Soviet Jewry, a former Russian activist who lives in the United States but was in Moscow at the time of the incident witnessed the attack and confirmed that the synagogue was damaged.

The activist added that Goldschmidt’s attempts to hold a news conference failed after reporters did not respond to his requests.

“We call upon the Moscow city police to launch an immediate investigation of the incident and provide the synagogue protection without delay,” said Richard Wexler, chairman of NCSJ.

“And we urge both municipal officials and President (Boris) Yeltsin to publicly condemn this act of violence against a religious institution.”

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