Synagogue in Siberia damaged by meteorite

The meteorite entering the atmosphere above Chelyabisnk, Russia, Feb. 15, 2013. (YouTube)

The meteorite entering the atmosphere above Chelyabisnk, Russia, Feb. 15, 2013. (YouTube)

Rabbi Yechiel Michel Levitin standing next to the stained glass windows of the synagogue in Chelyabisnk, Russia that he said were shattered by a blast caused by a likely meteorite, Feb. 15, 2013. (Chabad Online)

Rabbi Yechiel Michel Levitin standing next to the stained glass windows of the synagogue in Chelyabisnk, Russia that he said were shattered by a blast caused by a likely meteorite, Feb. 15, 2013. (Chabad Online)

(JTA) — A synagogue in Siberia was lightly damaged by a meteorite that fell nearby.

On Friday, Rabbi Yechiel Michel Levitin, director of the Or Avner Jewish day school in Chelyabinsk, a city located 1,000 miles east of Moscow, was quoted by an Israeli website as saying congregants heard a huge explosion during morning prayers followed by a bright flash that lit up the sky.

“Glasses shattered and people tried to escape, but they weren’t sure were to go,” Levitin told COL, a media outlet affiliated with Chabad. “Outside we were told a meteor had fallen from the space.”

Media on Friday reported a suspected extraterrestrial object had landed somewhere in western Siberia. Videos posted on YouTube by drivers in the area showed a bright orb streaking the early morning sky. 

Levitin uploaded photos of the Chelyabisnk synagogue’s stained-glass windows, which he said were shattered by the shock waves. The rabbi said one congregant was spared serious injury when a large shard of glass landed in his seat seconds after he went to the window to investigate the cause of the blast.

“It was a real miracle,” Levitin said, according to COL. Levitin said authorities were telling residents to stay indoors while they were investigating the incident.

NEXT STORY