MIAMI — A Miami Beach synagogue was severely damaged by fire early Tuesday morning, and members said they suspected arson after discovering a small piece of the Torah on the lawn outside the charred building.
Rabbi Zev Katz, founder of the Chabad House synagogue, said he found the piece of the Torah before crime scene investigators arrived and began poring over the burned remains. So far, police and fire officials have not formally confirmed Rabbi Katz’s suspicions that the fire was intentionally set, though Javier Otero, division chief of operations for the Miami Beach Fire Department, said responders to the fire had noticed that one of the synagogue’s window panes was broken.
...Mr. Weinberger, who lives across from the synagogue, which has 500 members, said he was shocked when he learned of the fire, saying it was a particular coincidence that it was destroyed during the feast of Passover.
“Just when we are celebrating a time of freedom,” he said, “this happens.”
Rabbi Katz said he would hold Friday Shabbat services on the lawn of the synagogue.
“We are going to show people that we are not quitting,” said Rabbi Katz, who later conceded that it was “very devastating right now.”
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