Menachem Weinberg’s parents died in the Holocaust and were commemorated on a memorial plaque in the synagogue. He came to pray and found their memorial plaque had been shattered by the hasidim. “…Give me back this place," he reportedly cried in a voice choked with tears. “They have killed my soul."
Longtime members are shocked and horrified to see what Breslov hasidim have done to their synagogue
Breslov Hasidim Reportedly Steal Synagogue From Holocaust Survivors
Shmarya Rosenberg • FailedMessiah.com
Forty odd years ago a synagogue was founded by Romanian Holocaust survivors in the northern Israeli city of Sefat which, according to kabbalists, is one of the Land of Israel’s four holy cities.
But after all those decades of a peaceful, quiet existence, recently a group of Breslov hasidim decided to pray in that synagogue. Many of the synagogue’s longtime members complain the behavior of these hasidic newcomers has been anything but holy.
At first, the Breslov hasidim were friendly and nice, Ma’ariv reported earlier this week.
Hasidim claimed they just wanted to pray there alongside the synagogue’s longtime members. But then, longtime members say, the hasidim started to take over. They changed the prayer nusach (the type of prayerbook used that determines the order of prayers and their wording) without getting permission from the synagogue’s gabbai and stopped longtime members from leading prayers. Then they demanded control of the building.
And then the hasidim allegedly got nasty.
On Sunday, hasidim allegedly tore down and damaged large marble plaques memorializing the names of Holocaust victims. They also tore down memorial lights normally lit in their memory.
The Breslov hasidim also reportedly removed the synagogue’s sign and replaced it with a sign reading Synagogue of Hasidim of Our Teacher Rabbi Nachman [of Breslov].”
Longtime members who came to pray saw the new sign and the damaged and missing plaques and reportedly left weeping.
Menachem Weinberg’s parents died in the Holocaust and were commemorated on a memorial plaque in the synagogue. He came to pray and found their memorial plaque had been shattered by the hasidim.
“…Give me back this place," he reportedly cried in a voice choked with tears. “They have killed my soul."
Weinberg and other longtime members are fighting against the odds to get their synagogue back.
"The sad thing is that the mayor and [Sefat’s chief rabbi] Rabbi Shmuel Eliyahu backing them and supporting them," a longtime member said, noting that the city’s state-funded beit din (rabbinical court) decided the hasidim can pray in the synagogue against the wishes of the synagogue’s longtime members, the synagogue’s gabbai and its rabbi.
The city government is reportedly afraid to confront the city’s large and often unruly Breslov community – which has a fair number of convicted violent felons as members – and is afraid to confront Eliyahu.
But the city says that the use of the state-funded building isn’t the city’s call. Instead, it reportedly claims that the use of the synagogue building was a matter for the city’s state-funded rabbinic court – not for the city’s government.
"We regret that the worshipers did not find the golden mean of how to respect each other,” a city spokesperson reportedly said.