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Day after terror attack, congregants return to pray at Har Nof synagogue

Security guard now posted outside Kehilat Bnei Torah; politicians Bennett and Lipman join morning service

Marissa Newman is The Times of Israel political correspondent.

Yesh Atid MK Dov Lipman attends morning prayers at the Kehilat Bnei Torah synagogue in Har Nof, Jerusalem, on November 19, 2014. (photo credit: Courtesy)
Yesh Atid MK Dov Lipman attends morning prayers at the Kehilat Bnei Torah synagogue in Har Nof, Jerusalem, on November 19, 2014. (photo credit: Courtesy)

Members of Kehilat Bnei Torah Synagogue returned Wednesday for morning prayers (Shacharit), the first service held at the shul since the gruesome terror attack Tuesday that left five people dead.

For the first time, a security guard kept watch at the entrance.

The regular congregants were joined by several Israeli political figures, including Economy Minister Naftali Bennett (Jewish Home) and US-born Yesh Atid MK Rabbi Dov Lipman.

Lipman said he wanted to “demonstrate support for the regular minyan attendees” and convey the message that the Jewish people in Israel will not be intimidated by terror attacks.

“I was inspired by the intensity of this morning’s prayers and was touched deeply by the cries and tears of those who publicly gave thanks to God for surviving yesterday’s attack,” he said later.

Ultra-Orthodox Jews return November 19, 2014, to study inside the Jerusalem Har Nof synagogue where two terrorists from East Jerusalem killed five Israelis a day earlier. (Photo credit: Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)
Ultra-Orthodox Jews return November 19, 2014, to study inside the Jerusalem Har Nof synagogue where two terrorists from East Jerusalem killed five Israelis a day earlier. (Photo credit: Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

The services also marked the return of a congregant who was injured in the attack.

“I was in the synagogue and then we heard the shooting,” Yitzhak, a doctor at Shaare Zedek hospital, told Israeli news outlet Ynet. “I didn’t know what happened. I saw terrorists enter the synagogue. They chased me with an ax and I didn’t even see that we were wounded.”

The son of another injured congregant who attended the prayers said he came back to find his father’s belongings.

“His phylacteries are missing, his prayer shawl is missing, and I came to find them,” explained Yosef Moualmi. “We passed by here in the morning on the way to the hospital. My father’s condition is improving, thanks to the prayers.”

Economy Minister Naftali Bennett (R) prays inside a synagogue where two terrorists from East Jerusalem killed five people on Tuesday. November 19, 2014. (photo credit: Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)
Economy Minister Naftali Bennett (right) prays at the synagogue where two terrorists from East Jerusalem killed five people on Tuesday. November 19, 2014. (photo credit: Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

Meanwhile, Dr. Yigal Shushan, the director of neurosurgery at Hadassah Hospital Ein Kerem in Jerusalem, reported that three people hospitalized in Tuesday’s attack are in serious, but stable, condition.

They “were operated on until the late hours of the night, and their condition is stable,” he said.

“One of the injured regained consciousness and started talking to us. He’s still in shock, he doesn’t stop telling us what happened. It is apparent that the two terrorists’ goal was to target the congregants’ heads,” he added, implying an Islamic State-style focus to the attacks.

Several other people remain hospitalized in light to moderate condition.

Times of Israel staff contributed to this report.

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