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How Did This Torah Literally Get Burned Not Once But Twice?

Torah scrolls damaged in a fire that destroyed a Minnesota synagogue were burned again when the garage in which they were being stored caught ablaze.

The remnants of the Torahs, which were irreparably burned in September after the 120-year-old Adas Israel Congregation in Duluth caught fire, were being stored in a local garage before they were to be ceremonially buried in the shul’s cemetery, synagogue board chair David Sher told the Pioneer Press Tuesday.

Fire marshals are investigating the cause of this fire, though no foul play is suspected.

Jewish holy books are traditionally given burials if they are damaged. Sher said that two or three truckloads of books had already been buried.

Matthew Amiot, a local resident with a history of homelessness and mental health difficulties, pleaded guilty in September to starting the blaze that destroyed the synagogue and injured a responding firefighter, saying he was just trying to light a fire to keep warm. Amiot was given supervised release so that he could try to obtain housing and treatment, but was arrested again two weeks ago for violating his probation. He was sentenced Friday to a year and a day in prison.

Aiden Pink is the deputy news editor of the Forward. Contact him at [email protected] or follow him on Twitter @aidenpink

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