Alabama Jews reach out to mend torched churches

10 churches burned in a rash of arson attacks.

February 24, 2006 00:47
1 minute read.


Dear Reader,
As you can imagine, more people are reading The Jerusalem Post than ever before. Nevertheless, traditional business models are no longer sustainable and high-quality publications, like ours, are being forced to look for new ways to keep going. Unlike many other news organizations, we have not put up a paywall. We want to keep our journalism open and accessible and be able to keep providing you with news and analysis from the frontlines of Israel, the Middle East and the Jewish World.

As one of our loyal readers, we ask you to be our partner.

For $5 a month you will receive access to the following:

  • A user experience almost completely free of ads
  • Access to our Premium Section
  • Content from the award-winning Jerusalem Report and our monthly magazine to learn Hebrew - Ivrit
  • A brand new ePaper featuring the daily newspaper as it appears in print in Israel

Help us grow and continue telling Israel’s story to the world.

Thank you,

Ronit Hasin-Hochman, CEO, Jerusalem Post Group
Yaakov Katz, Editor-in-Chief


The Birmingham Jewish community is reaching out to churches that have been affected by this month's rash of arsons in rural parts of the state. Ten churches burned in three separate sprees between February 3 and February 14. All of the churches have been Baptist, and six of them burned to the ground. Racial motives are being discounted, since half of the congregations were black and half were white. The late-night fires all started in the pulpit area. After the first six churches burned, south and west of Birmingham, the Birmingham Jewish Federation donated $1,000 from its reserve fund to help rebuild the churches. After the other arsons, that was raised to $2,000. Volunteers from the Birmingham Jewish Community Relations Committee have been paired with each of the churches to express concern and find out how the Jewish community could be of further assistance. The federation also plans to coordinate "personal helping opportunities" with groups like the Teen Tzedakah program. JCRC member Randy Mazer contacted New Harmony Holiness Church in Chilton County, and reported that the pastor's wife said his was the only call thus far from outside the area. After speaking with Rev. Jim Parker of Ashby Baptist Church, Joel Rotenstreich of the Birmingham Jewish Federation said: "They will be able to carry on, united with their congregants, neighbor churches that have offered space, and friends," but what they need is money for rebuilding. Parker "asked me to express his profound thanks to the Jewish community for their concern, support, and prayers," Rotenstreich said. "Let's not let these people down." Maury Shevin, chairman of the JCRC, said: "An attack on a church or any other house of worship resonates with us as Jews in particular, given the attacks on our own religious institutions throughout our history." Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein of the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews called the fires "an assault on all people of faith." The Anti-Defamation League's Atlanta office issued a statement from its regional director, Deborah Lauter, and its Alabama state chairman, Steven Brickman, urging a "vigorous" investigation and stating that the churches "have the heartfelt sympathy and support of the Jewish community." The American Jewish Committee offered a $5,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the arsonists.

Join Jerusalem Post Premium Plus now for just $5 and upgrade your experience with an ads-free website and exclusive content. Click here>>

Related Content

Joan Rivers
August 28, 2014
Joan Rivers rushed to hospital following throat surgery


Cookie Settings