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Torah scrolls stolen during celebrations — allegedly by congregation’s rabbi

Police arrest Negev rabbi for switching precious parchments for cardboard as worshipers celebrated during Simchat Torah

Israelis dance with Torah scrolls during the festival of Simchat Torah, September 2010. (Gershon Elinson/Flash90)
Israelis dance with Torah scrolls during the festival of Simchat Torah, September 2010. (Gershon Elinson/Flash90)

Seven torah scrolls were stolen from a synagogue and replaced with rolls of paper and cardboard — by the congregation’s rabbi, police say — during Simchat Torah celebrations on Monday night.

The incident happened  in the small Negev town of Moshav Brosh. According to police, as revelers danced with Torah scrolls during the customary celebrations of the Simchat Torah festival, which began on Monday night, thieves made off with several of the precious parchments, estimated to be worth about NIS 500,000 ($129,523).

The robbers used rolls of paper with the same shape as Torah scrolls as decoys while they escaped.

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Ofakim police arrested the synagogue’s rabbi on Tuesday, after worshipers confronted him about the deception.

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