Queens: Stolen Sifrei Torah Returned; Thieves Arrested


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arrested.jpgTwo men were arrested Thursday morning and face charges of stealing eight Sifrei Torah from a Queens synagogue. According to members of the synagogue, one of the men is a janitor there.

Eric Giraldo, 23, has worked in maintenance at the Jewish Center of Kew Garden Hills for the past three years. Mr. Giraldo and Alan Lozano, 28, both Queens residents, were arraigned yesterday and charged with criminal possession of stolen property, police said.

On August 16, eight Sifrei Torahs were taken from the synagogue (reported HERE on YWN), with no sign of forced entry, leading police and community members to suspect that an insider had taken them.

Ms. Bagley said a number of people from the temple were questioned, and that Mr. Giraldo was taken into questioning earlier this week.

(Source: WCBSTV / NY Sun)


  1. My understanding is that if a Sefer Torah is in the custody of a non Jew for any length of time that Safer Torah can not be used according to Halacha.

    Nevertheless I am happy they were returned

  2. #3 ‘if a Sefer Torah is in the custody of a non Jew for any length of time that Safer Torah can not be used according to Halacha’

    where did you get that from? not in halacha

  3. #5

    I’ll check again but I heard a Rabbi speak of it while giving a nightly shiur in Gemura about 2 weeks ago.

    I’ll look into it again and get back to you

  4. Do you people just make up your own rules? come on now give me a break.What about the sidurim and chumashim in a catholic Hospital?(bikur cholim room) are they no good either?

  5. to #3 & #5 – perhaps the Rav was referring to a case where we do not know the identity of the rightful owner of the sefer torah – we assume that the non-Jew who now has possession of the sefer torah is not the rightful owner and we are faced with a question of using a sefer torah that was stolen and where the rightful owner has not been been m’yaesh. There are a number of T’shuvos dealing with sifrei torah that were taken from their owners during Churban Europe by the Nazis, YM’S (or were hidden by those owners) and then found their way to other yidden after the war — only to be reclaimed by the original owners.

  6. NeveAliza, I was not negating the Sifrei Torah c”v, I was simply clarifying the article. The article said “a Queens Synogogue” which is a term usually used for Orthodox Shuls, not a conservative temple. People can get confused when they read these articles. This is especially true considering that the original article opened with the phrase, “A Queens Jewish Center…” they meant a Jewish Center in Queens, but they may not have realized that their is a shul in Forest Hills, Queens called The Queens Jewish center. The robbery did not happen there, it was in the Jewish Center of Kew Garden Hills (as later mentioned) – a conservative temple. Still tragic, but let’ make sure the reporting is accurate!

  7. The KGH Jewish Center is fully backed by the Orthodox community and some Orthodox use the building as a shul on random occassions. Rumor has it that the rabbi is Orthodox too.