Europe Synagogue Set Ablaze
Eventually, Hashem will widen our borders and grant us rest from all our enemies who surround us like bees and sting us mercilessly (may HaShem take vengeance on them on our behalf). When this happends, all of us will join together and become involved in the building effort (with G-d's help). For Nachum's prophecy - The gates of your Land have been opened wide (3:13) - has been fulfilled through us (thank G-d). We will disregard our newfound freedom here in exile and make sure not to use it to remain here as before (G-d forbid). For if we remain here, the nations will oppress us once again, as the prophet says: ...you who rejoice over nothingness, who say "Indeed, with our strength we have taken horns for ourselves." For behold. I will raise up a nation against you, O House of Israel, says the Lord..., and they will oppress you (Amos 6:13-14). Thus, the nations oppressed us only because we rejoiced over our lot here in exile. We felt that we were strong, [as if] we had horns with which to gore eastward, northward, southward, and westward. But HaShem showed us that we rejoiced over nothing and that our greatness here was like a fleeting dream.
Therefore, let us learn from the past and use our newfound freedom to establish great movements to encourage all segments of our nation to ascend to Zion with happy song and eternal joy. Then HaShem will fulfill His promise to us: The Lord will be zealous for His Land and have pity on His people (Yoal 2:18). Amen, so may it be G-d's will.
- Harav Yisachar Shlomo Teichtal,
EIM HABANIM SEMEICHAH (pp. 435-436)
Arson Suspected in Synagogue Blaze
BRADLEY S. KLAPPER
The Associated Press
GENEVA - Fire heavily damaged a synagogue Thursday, and police said they suspect arson.
The blaze struck on the Jewish holiday of Shavuot, which celebrates Moses' receiving of the Torah from God.
Police did not give a motive, but there have been incidents of anti-Semitism in Geneva recently, including graffiti scrawled on another Jewish house of worship.
The blaze broke out at 5 a.m. in the Hekhal Haness Synagogue in Geneva's Malagnou neighborhood. About 40 firefighters responded and had the fire under control an hour later, police spokesman Philippe Cosandey said. No one was hurt.
Cosandey said investigators suspect arson because there appeared to be several sources for the flames.
"It's not clear whether the fire originated inside or outside the building," he said.
The main entrance was completely burnt out, with windows blown out and walls blackened by smoke. Police were removing wood and rubble from the entrance. A heavy smell of smoke hung in the air.
Still, a group of worshippers prayed in an inner courtyard to celebrate the holiday. They used the Torah scroll, which apparently survived the fire.
The first-floor library was destroyed, said Jose de Matos who works as a keeper at the synagogue. The main prayer room was not damaged, according to an Associated Press reporter who was given access to the building.
(Photo:AP Photo/Keystone, Martial Trezzini)