Fire destroys Minnesota synagogue
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'It feels like like one of your family members passed away'

Fire destroys Minnesota synagogue

Local federations raising money to rebuild the house of worship, built over a century ago

Adas Israel Congregation ablaze, September 9, 2019. (Screenshot from KBJR Channel 6)
Adas Israel Congregation ablaze, September 9, 2019. (Screenshot from KBJR Channel 6)

An early Monday morning fire destroyed a synagogue in northern Minnesota.

The cause of the fire at the Adas Israel congregation in Duluth was unclear, according to local news reports. It appears to have destroyed much of the building, which was built more than a century ago. There were no fatalities, though one firefighter was injured while fighting the blaze. It is unclear whether any of the synagogue’s Torah scrolls survived, according to the Star Tribune, a newspaper in the Twin Cities.

“It feels like one of your family members passed away,” David Sher, a board member and lifelong worshipper at Adas Israel, told the Star Tribune. “We have no idea what we are doing [next]. There are no words right now.”

The synagogue has around 50 members. The local Jewish federations have started a fundraising campaign on behalf of the synagogue, and another local synagogue, Temple Israel, has offered Adas Israel temporary space.

“We thank the Duluth Fire Department and the Duluth Police Department for their swift response to this terrible incident,” Steve Hunegs, executive director of the Jewish Community Relations Council of Minnesota and the Dakotas, said in a statement. “As we approach the Jewish High Holy Days, we offer our full support to our fellow Jewish Duluthians.”

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