A streak of synagogue heists have Midwood residents praying for all the wrong reasons.
At least four neighborhood Jewish houses of worship have had silver-laden shawls used in religious ceremonies swiped from unsuspecting congregants who say they’ve left the expensive ceremonial fabric there for years without trouble.
Now members of the Flatbush Shomrim Patrol, the volunteer neighborhood security force, says it wants to crack down on the problem before it becomes an epidemic.
“We must stop these thieves in their tracks,” said Chaim Deutsch, founder of the Flatbush Shomrim. “We urge the community to be on alert, and report all such crimes and suspicious activity.”
The garments, called ataras, are part of the shawl that observant Jews envelop themselves in when they go to pray, but the rows of silver embedded in the mantles make them attractive to thieves, who have burglarized synagogues looking for the $400 shawls, which are usually not kept locked up. The crooks remove the precious metals inside the shawls and leave the cloth behind.
The thefts were puzzling to Izzy Kirzner, whose atara was stolen from his shul on the corner of Avenue L and E. 22nd Street.
“I’ve been leaving it in the synagogue for nearly 28 years,” he said, attributing the crime to someone familiar with the synagogue’s interior operations.
The worshipper said an inside job wouldn’t surprise him because of the lax security in temples, making the ataras — typically gifted to a groom by his bride’s parents — an easy target.
“There’s all different types of people that come and go to synagogues,” Kirzner added. “Some are wacky and some are not trustworthy.”
The 70th Precinct didn’t respond to calls for a comment.
Reach reporter Eli Rosenberg at erosenberg
©2012 Community News Group
By submitting this comment, you agree to the following terms:
You agree that you, and not BrooklynDaily.com or its affiliates, are fully responsible for the content that you post. You agree not to post any abusive, obscene, vulgar, slanderous, hateful, threatening or sexually-oriented material or any material that may violate applicable law; doing so may lead to the removal of your post and to your being permanently banned from posting to the site. You grant to BrooklynDaily.com the royalty-free, irrevocable, perpetual and fully sublicensable license to use, reproduce, modify, adapt, publish, translate, create derivative works from, distribute, perform and display such content in whole or in part world-wide and to incorporate it in other works in any form, media or technology now known or later developed.