(April 21, 2019 / JNS) Following an arson and defacement attack on the biggest yeshivah in Moscow, Jewish organizations expressed their belief that Russian officials would succeed in bringing the perpetrators to justice and protecting the Jewish community.
“Over the next two days, we will not be able to investigate because Passover begins at this moment,” a spokesperson for Moscow Chief Rabbi Pinchas Goldschmidt reportedly told Interfax news agency. “The situation is completely entrusted to law-enforcement agencies, which we hope will be able to find the perpetrators.”
As 60 rabbis, yeshivah students and Jewish community members gathered in the Torat Chaim yeshivah in eastern Moscow to prepare for the Passover seder on April 19, a fire was allegedly lit in a storage area for kosher meat. Swastikas were also scrawled on the entrance.
Everyone was able to evacuate safely, and no casualties or injuries were reported; however, damage to the yeshivah was extensive.
“The entire international Jewish community is horrified by this vicious attack by what appears to be neo-Nazi elements,” said World Jewish Congress CEO Robert 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.”
“This serious incident at Torat Chaim in Russia’s capital is another red light in the righteous fight in the war against anti-Semitism and terror in Europe,” said World Zionist Organization vice chairman Yaakov Hagoel. “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.”