The SIach Yisrael Shul in the Kiryat Yovel section of Yerushalayim was found desecrated and vandalized on Tuesday morning, in images reminiscent of Kristallnacht R”L. At least four Sifrei Torah were found strewn about on the floor, with the Aron Kodesh vandalized, and signifigant damage done to the Shul.

Reactions were heard from many rabbonim and political leaders alike after the horrific photos were released on Tuesday morning, January 29, 2019, showing the extent of the damage and desecration in the Shul.

One can see the trouble the vandals went through to commit the horrific acts, as the Aron Kodesh is a steel safe and they cut through the side to get access to the Sifrei Torah R”L.

The vandalism was discovered when mispallalim arrived on Tuesday morning, realizing what had occurred during the night. Police forensic experts arrived on the scene to gather evidence while the work began to pick up the Sifrei Torah and sifrei kodesh and begin restoring the shul to its state prior to the attack.

Chief Rabbi of Israe HaRav Dovid Lau and Rishon L’Tzion HaGaon HaRav Yitzchak Yosef commented: The Jewish heart is horrified at the sight of Sifrei Torah, which are profaned in a terrible disgrace caused by the scoundrels inside the shul. The authorities must turn every stone, reach out to the criminals and take full advantage of the law to prosecute them.

“Those who were exposed to the atrocity should accept a fast on themselves or redeem it via tzedaka, and every Jew whose honor of Torah is dear to him, will take upon himself a day of Torah study with a taanis dibur to increase and strengthen the Torah’s glory”.

Jerusalem Chief Ashkenazi Rabbi HaRav Aryeh Stern stated, “We were shocked to hear about desecration of the shul in Kiryat HaYovel in Jerusalem. We have no information as to who the criminals have been and who have desecrated the sacraments in an unbelievable way! And an answer will certainly be received from the police investigators.

“But it is incumbent on all of us to protest against the perpetrators of the heinous crime we have seen in the difficult years of the Holocaust by the Nazis. Now we must explore our actions and strengthen our atmosphere of unity, of the people living in Tzion.

“We all hope that the Hashem Yisborach will forgive us, and even those who hurt the shul will come and ask forgiveness from HKBG and all of Israel.

President Reuven Rivlin reacted to the horrific attack, stating, “difficult painful pictures from the Kiryat Yovel shul this morning. I am certain that the Israeli Police will reach those who desecrated the shul and bring them to justice soon, in order to ensure that such sights do not occur.”

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu responded: “I am shocked by the desecration of the shul in the Kiryat Yovel neighborhood of Jerusalem, and the police must immediately find those responsible to bring them to justice.”

Jerusalem Mayor Moshe Leon called on police to act sternly and swiftly to bring the responsible parties to justice. The mayor added that this is among the most difficult sights that he has seen, one that is reminiscent to the dark days of Jewish history.

“These are harsh scenes that remind us of dark validity in the history of our people, and I call upon the enforcement authorities to do everything necessary to locate the perpetrators immediately and put them on trial.”

Chairman of the Hisorarus Movement and Jerusalem Opposition Leader Ofer Berkowitz said following the break-up and destruction of the shul in Kiryat Yovel: “I was shocked by the terrible act of harming the holy sites of Israel. This is a difficult event and the pictures from the place remind us of dark days that frighten every Jew wherever he is.

“I call on the Israel Police to act immediately and to allocate all the necessary resources in order to catch the vandals and bring them to justice soon”.

Shas party chairman Minister Aryeh Deri, MK Betzalel Smotrich, Minister Naftali Bennet, Deputy Minister Yaakov Litzman and many others were among the voices of outrage and condemnation from the political community.

(YWN Israel Desk – Jerusalem / Photo Credit: Israel Police Spokesman via קבוצת רוטרניק)


  1. waking up in the USA and looking at yeshiva world… usually just same news different day.

    today made me sad, angry, upset. rashoim.

    Oy ma hoya lanu.

  2. Why wern’t the Sifrei Torah picked up right away? every moment they left it on the floor is another disgrace!
    pick it up, then take pictures and comment and cry.

  3. Dear YWN, Please remove the photos from the home page and put some kind of warning like graphic content. This is as graphicly traumatic as showing gory body parts if not more so. Please have some sensitivity.

  4. Our Jewish bretheren need to wake up. this is a major problem.
    We need to make serious chuvah and start brining the geula closer .
    Their is no hope but the arrival of the moshiah . the longer we wait the wore things will get

  5. NAFTA: Hopefully you are not suggesting that this horror was the work of other yiddden…..that would make this tragedy even worse.

    Malach: Its important that the police get evidence necessary to prosecute the animals who committed this crime so I’m assuming the Rav or other member of the shul who was there concurred in the decision to first allow the forensic team to do their work.

  6. This is horrifying!! though I can not believe I’m seeing this on a so called “religious” website, which should be a little bit more sensitive to it’s viewers. YWN did you ask a halachic question whether it’s proper or if you’re even allowed to post pictures of desecrated Sifre Torah like this for people to watch? Did you find out first if viewers are allowed to look at pictures like these?? There is a long discussion in the Poskim if one should fast תענית חלום בשבת on Shabbos if he sees in a “DREAM” a Sefer Torah falling, (עיין בשולחן ערוך סימן רפ”ח סעיף ה. ובמגן אברהם סוף סק”ז. ובספר מגיד מישרים פרשת ויקהל).. Would it be permitted to spread pictures like this Lechatchila to watch?? Besides the fact that these pictures are horrifying and can cause a nightmare, it’s a massive chilul Hashem and bizayon Hatorah to post them online for people to see, just as bad as the act itself (I can prove it). If you have feelings and respect for Kavod Hashem and His Hatorah, please consider removing all pictures showing Sifre Torah laying on the floor. Thank you!

    Moderators Note: Did you fast when you saw photos of Sifrei Torah destroyed in the Holocaust?

  7. To YWN Moderators. Your question is irrelevant, but I will answer you. No I did not fast when I saw photos of destroyed Sifrei Torah from the Holocaust era. I asked and I was told that Lemaasei we don’t fast seeing old pictures from 70 years ago. But just because we practically don’t fast, it doesn’t make it totally permitted to look at them. And although I did not fast after seeing those photos, I certainly was not Machshil harabim by intentionally passing around and distributing sensitive photos like this to millions to view . For some reason people assume that if they’re a reporter every thing becomes permitted.

  8. Gadolhadorah- Hashem will bring justice, as Rav Chaim Kanievsky said.
    and believe me, Hashems justice will be much better that the police can do.

  9. Another possible take: Were these thieves? There is a large underground market both in Israel and Chutz for stolen Sifrei Torah, enough so that there are now systems for marking Sifrei Torah for identification in a kosher way. Simple vandals probably wouldn’t have bothered cutting through a steel safe. If they were thieves and did make all that effort, expecting to have a nice haul that would have netted them tens of thousands of dollars, and then found out that the Torahs were identity-marked, they might have taken out their rage by desecrating them. After all, if they’re going to try to steal a Torah they certainly have no respect for it. A beheimah is a beheimah.

  10. Chulent: If the police can uncover forensic evidence (fingerprints, DNA etc.) by protecting the crime scene, than it may prevent the same hooligans from repeating such a crime at another shul. As to halacha, the editors and mods of this website seem to be more than able to identify the narrative and visuals that are both consistent with halacha. and appropriate for publication.

  11. Regarding the several pictures of the wreaked Beis Medrosh that are posted here (and on other B’nei Torah news websites), it is EXTREMELY GOOD that these pictures are placed here (and elsewhere) where the public can view them. For it is ABSOLUTELY CRUCIAL that people will CLEARLY SEE the HORRENDOUS MASSIVE SACRILEGE that occurred and feel SEVERELY PAINED AND REVOLTED by it.

  12. Police found 3 possible suspects- Arabs that thought there was money in the Aron and spilled the bleach to hide their finger prints.
    Rav kanievsky also said (before the police report came ) that it was most likely non jews.

  13. I agree with pilpel harif and am surprised that the moderators even responded with that question if he fasted seeing the sifrei torah that were disgraced in the holocaust. That’s so obviously different and incomparable.
    Instead of addressing pilpel harifs valid issue like mature adults and either responding by saying that they know the halocha or got a psak that they can publicize these images, or on the other hand, apologizing and taking them off, the moderators sink to a level of a child and reply “Did you fast when you saw photos of Sifrei Torah destroyed in the Holocaust?” reminiscent of the argument “but my daddy is stronger than ur daddy.” Seriously?!?!? Grow up chevra.

  14. With due respect to the moderator. Don’t you think that your response on Pilpel Chariff was a bit off key? Instead of giving an evaluation on a valid question you give him a mouthful. It was almost condescending and childish to respond in such a way.
    We have a terrible tragedy at hand. Now there are some valid questions as to whether defamed Sifrei Torah R”L should remain defaced on the ground in a state of disgrace. It is a valid question if pictures of such a scene should be published. The same counts for videos of terror attacks (like the one on Malachei Yisroel) or pictures of Reshoim (murders and the like). Should they be published or not?

  15. YisroelF. I’m so surprised by your comment written with balded words saying how EXTREMELY GOOD it is that these pictures were posted for the public to see, because it is ABSOLUTELY CRUCIAL that people CLEARLY SEE the HORRENDOUS MASSIVE SACRILEGE that occurred and feel SEVERELY PAINED AND REVOLTED by it. I’m sorry for you, but your comment is a total nonsense! How can you even think like that is beyond me. You obviously have respect to Kovod Shomayim.
    Please forgive me for saying this, but please tell me, what if someone sees someone’s wife or daughter getting raped God forbid, and takes pictures of the crime, would you also say then that it’s absolutely crucial to make all the graphic pictures go viral to the public so people can see the horrendous crime and be severely pained??? or you most likely would say it’s not nice to show graphic pictures, not respectful to the woman and her family. Why is here any different? Some lowlife animals broke into a shul a holy makom of kedusha, tore open the Hechal Hakodesh, threw four Sifei Torah on the ground, this doesn’t sound like rape to you? and you have the chutzpah to say it’s important to show the pictures to the world? Where is your respect and sensitivity to Hashem and His Honor??
    Real people don’t need to see pictures for them to understand how severe something is, we can relate and equally feel the pain without seeing pictures. For thousands of years we went through so much Tsaros and Gzeros from the Churban Beis Hamikdash and on, Jews constantly mourned for them throughout the generations, they had no vivid pictures to see like we do, and had no YWN to broadcast daily events, yet they understood how painful the gzeiros were, and had way more compassion and empathy than we do today. So please YisroelF take back your nonsense.

    To YWN, I respect you a lot, and over all you do a great job, It’s not my place to judge you or tell you what to do, I assume you do have a Rav or a Daas Torah who you ask questions to. I would like to know if you truly asked a Halachic Shaila before posting these pictures, and if you did, I’m willing to challenge that person whoever he is, how he came to this conclusion to allow these graphic images to be posted.