Four men were indicted Wednesday for burglarizing an Orthodox synagogue in Eugene, Ore. Ahavas Torah’s two Torah scrolls, together worth about $100,000, were damaged during the Feb. 22 burglary. One scroll was tossed out in the rain; the other was unrolled and torn. The men, all transients, apparently ate and drank wine while they were inside the synagogue. They opened the ark and took out the Torah scrolls while looking for valuables, according to police. Prayerbooks also were damaged. Synagogue officials called the incident a hate crime, but investigators told local reporters they didn’t have enough evidence to bring such a charge. Synagogue president Paul Feinstein told the local Register-Guard newspaper that attacking a Torah indicates hatred for Jews and Judaism. “Anyone that’s going to deliberately go out of their way to break into a synagogue or church — there’s something else behind it,” he said. The Torah scroll left in the rain had less damage. The congregation continues to use it while the second scroll and the ark are being repaired.
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