Skip To Content
JEWISH. INDEPENDENT. NONPROFIT.

Support the Forward

Funded by readers like you DonateSubscribe
The Schmooze

Sefer Torah Thefts Baffle Israel’s Haredi Community

There is intrigue across Israel’s Haredi community, after the sector’s media has reported on what seems to be a case of serial sefer Torah theft.

Several communities in and around the central-Israel city of Lod have had scrolls stolen in recent weeks. The criminals were seemingly not opportunists, but rather individuals or gangs who had carefully planned their crimes. They showed detailed knowledge of the synagogues they stole from and how the scrolls are stored and secured. In many cases, there were no signs of break-ins and a key was seemingly used to gain entry.

Even stranger, in some cases the parchments were cut away from the rollers on which they are mounted and the rollers were left behind.

The crimes raise many questions. Why sefer Torah scrolls? Why in these particular synagogues in one of the least affluent parts of Israel? What are the thieves planning to do with them — is there really a serious black market in such items? Why damage the scrolls to take them?

Calling all amateur detectives.

Engage

Republish This Story

Please read before republishing

We’re happy to make this story available to republish for free, unless it originated with JTA, Haaretz or another publication (as indicated on the article) and as long as you follow our guidelines. You must credit the Forward, retain our pixel and preserve our canonical link in Google search.  See our full guidelines for more information, and this guide for detail about canonical URLs.

To republish, copy the HTML by clicking on the yellow button to the right; it includes our tracking pixel, all paragraph styles and hyperlinks, the author byline and credit to the Forward. It does not include images; to avoid copyright violations, you must add them manually, following our guidelines. Please email us at [email protected], subject line “republish,” with any questions or to let us know what stories you’re picking up.

We don't support Internet Explorer

Please use Chrome, Safari, Firefox, or Edge to view this site.