Displaced Sydney congregants return to blaze scene for Sukkot


SYDNEY, Australia (JTA) — Hundreds of members of a synagogue in Sydney severely damaged by a fire on Rosh Hashanah returned to the premises for Sukkot.

The sanctuary of Kehillat Masada was gutted by the Sept. 28 blaze that swept through the foyer of the shul, the kitchens, a hall and upstairs offices. But the board organized for a large tent to be erected on the grounds of the Masada College campus, which houses the synagogue, in time for Sukkot.

Masada College president Trevor Lorge said the tent, which holds 500 people, was well received on Sukkot and will remain until the synagogue is restored, which could take six to eight months.

It took more than 30 firefighters from six stations several hours to control the fire. Police say the fire was accidental and there were no suspicious circumstances. One Torah scroll was damaged in the blaze; firefighters saved the rest.

Experts are assessing the damaged scroll, said synagogue president Cecil Bass.

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