Jewish organizations condemn arson attack on Moscow's biggest Yeshiva

On Friday, the Yeshiva was set alight and Swastikas painted on its front as guests were gathering inside to take part in the Seder, an integral part of Passover holiday.

April 21, 2019 12:28
2 minute read.
Rabbi Pinchas Goldschmidt is the chief rabbi of Moscow.

Rabbi Pinchas Goldschmidt is the chief rabbi of Moscow.. (photo credit: REUTERS)


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Jewish organizations from across the globe have condemned Friday's arson attack on Moscow's biggest Yeshiva, Torat Chaim.

On Friday, the Yeshiva was set alight and Swastikas painted on its front as guests were gathering inside to take part in the Seder, an integral part of Passover, one of the most auspicious holiday's in the Jewish calendar.

A spokeswoman for Moscow’s Chief Rabbi Pinchas Goldschmidt, reportedly told the Interfax news agency as saying the fire was set in a storage area for kosher meat and that swastikas were drawn at the yeshiva’s entrance.

"Over the next two days, we will not be able to investigate because Passover begins at this moment," the spokeswoman said. "The situation is completely entrusted to law enforcement agencies, which we hope will be able to find the perpetrators."

There were about 60 students, rabbis and guests in the building at the time, local Russian media reported.

World Jewish Congress CEO Robert Singer expressed "anger and horror at the arson attack on the Torat Chaim Yeshiva in a Moscow suburb, which was accompanied by swastika-laden graffiti."

“The entire international Jewish community is horrified by this vicious attack by what appears to be neo-Nazi elements,” said Singer. “We are deeply grateful that no one was injured in this cowardly incident and hope that the Russian authorities will do everything in their power to bring the perpetrators swiftly to justice. I wish the teachers and students at the Torat Chaim Yeshiva, and all Jews around the world, a beautiful and peaceful Passover free of further violence.”

Anti-Defamation League CEO Jonathan Greenblatt called the incident "despicable" in a post on Twitter.

"A despicable act of #antisemitism at a Yeshiva in Moscow as it's students were preparing for the Passover holiday," he tweeted. "We hope the authorities will ensure the community and it's institutions are safe."

Yaakov Hagoel, the World Zionist Organization's vice chairman, said that antisemitic arsonists "do not want to allow Diaspora Jews true freedom."

"This serious incident at the Torat Chaim yeshiva in Russia's capital is another red light in the righteous fight in the war against anti-Semitism and terror in Europe," he said, "I call on Russia's President [Vladimir] Putin, a true friend of the State of Israel, to help and protect the Jews in his country, so that they are able, specifically, to proudly fulfill the holiday's commandments, and in general are able to fulfill the other commandments without fear."

Hagoel went on to say that the WZO supports the Jewish community in Moscow and "hope[s] they will be able to continue their work faithfully, without fearing such instances. I wish them a happy and kosher Passover holiday."

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