Religious leaders work to salvage sacred Torah scrolls after fire

Local police, fire investigators, and the State Bureau of Criminal Investigations are actively probing the incident at Chassidim of 110, a Hasidic synagogue on North Ridge Road.

Lisa LaRocca

Apr 18, 2024, 11:15 AM

Updated 37 days ago

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Religious leaders in Pomona are mobilizing efforts to salvage precious documents that were damaged during a massive fire that destroyed a place of worship on Wednesday.
Local police, fire investigators, and the State Bureau of Criminal Investigations are actively probing the incident at Chassidim of 110, a Hasidic synagogue on North Ridge Road. They are exploring the origin and cause of the fire, including the possibility that it was deliberately set.
The fire was discovered by a worshipper who arrived at the synagogue around 5:30 a.m. Wednesday. The extent of the damage was severe, necessitating the immediate demolition of the building to facilitate investigative efforts. Everything, including a safe containing sacred Torah scrolls, collapsed into the basement as the structure gave way.
During the recovery process, a team from Chaverim EMS of Rockland used heavy-duty tools to access the safe and retrieve the scrolls inside. Steven Goldenberg of Chaverim EMS described the safe as "waterlogged" and "heavy," indicating the challenges faced during the rescue operation.
The salvaged scrolls were carefully bagged for transport to a local expert who will assess their condition and determine if repairs are feasible. David Goldenberg expressed hope and uncertainty about the restoration process, acknowledging the emotional weight of the situation.
Congregants shared that if the scrolls are deemed beyond repair, they will be buried according to Jewish law and tradition.
Law enforcement agencies, including local police, firefighters, and the New York State Bureau of Criminal Investigation, remained on-site throughout Wednesday, conducting thorough investigations into the fire's origin and circumstances. Haverstraw Police Capt. John Gould Jr. emphasized the complexities of the investigation due to the extensive damage. "It's going to take some time. As you can see, there's a lot of rubble and debris that they have to sift through."
Congregants say they will rebuild their house of worship


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