Fire damages prominent New York City synagogue

12 July 2011

A dramatic fire has devastated a Modern Orthodox synagogue in Manhattan’s Upper East Side that was being renovated. Around 170 firefighters were on the scene at the height of the blaze at the Kehilath Jeshurun Synagogue which started at about 8.30pm on Monday evening. It took an hour to bring the fire under control but witnesses described seeing flames coming from the roof and through the windows.

The roof, upper floors and some of the stained-glass windows were badly damaged. The synagogue, which is 110 years old, was being renovated and no-one was injured, according to the 1,100-member-strong congregation’s rabbi, Haskel Lookstein. All Torah scrolls had been removed when construction began. The renovation was to have been completed in September.

“I have complete faith in our community, which is 140-years old, will respond. We will rebuild whatever has been lost and with God’s help, we’ll go on,” said Lookstein.

Police are investigating the cause of the fire.

[Picture: New York Times]

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