Morning prayers at the Kehilat Bnei Torah synagogue in Har Nof, Jerusalem, on November 19, 2014. (photo credit: Courtesy)
Members of Kehilat Bnei Torah Synagogue returned Wednesday for morning prayers (Shacharit), the first service held at the shul since the gruesome terror attack Tuesday that left five people dead.
For the first time, a security guard kept watch at the entrance.
The regular congregants were joined by several Israeli political figures, including Economy Minister Naftali Bennett (Jewish Home) and US-born Yesh Atid MK Rabbi Dov Lipman.
Lipman said he wanted to “demonstrate support for the regular minyan attendees” and convey the message that the Jewish people in Israel will not be intimidated by terror attacks. Read more at The Times of Israel.
Early this morning, four rabbis were murdered in Jerusalem as they gathered for morning prayers. The attackers left behind bibles and prayer shawls soaked in Jewish blood. The victims left behind 24 fatherless children. Our prayers are with the victims’ families.
This was a premeditated act of terrorism. The attackers — two cousins from East Jerusalem — entered the synagogue when they knew it would be filled with worshippers and began shooting and hacking while shouting” Allahu Akbar” — Allah is great. The Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine has claimed credit for these murders. And Palestinians in Gaza have been dancing in the streets and handing out sweets to celebrate the bloodshed.
According to the terrorists’ relatives, they killed the rabbis to protest what Israel is doing on the Temple Mount — the place where the First and Second Temples stood and which is now the site of two important Muslim mosques. But what exactly is Israel doing on the Temple Mount other than exercising surprising restraint? Israel liberated this site — the holiest site in Judaism — in 1967. Yet in deference to Muslim sensibilities Israel has allowed a Muslim Authority — the Waqf — to continue governing the Temple Mount. And in further deference to Muslim demands every Israeli government including the current one has forbidden Jews from praying at the Temple Mount. Non-Jews are merely allowed to visit in small groups.
These events should demonstrate an important fact about Israel’s conflict with her neighbors: sometimes restraint is not rewarded. And sometimes, the truth just doesn’t matter. Murderous grievance can flow from complete myth or pure hate. The Christians being crucified, beheaded and murdered by similar Muslim extremists throughout the middle east have fallen to the same evil.
Let us pray for the families of these victims. And let us pray for the peace of Jerusalem. And let us insist upon telling the truth as the best way to protest these murderers and their lies.
Two Palestinians armed with a gun, knives and axes stormed a synagogue complex in an ultra-Orthodox Jewish neighborhood of West Jerusalem on Tuesday morning and killed four rabbis in the middle of their morning prayers, the Israeli police said.
The assailants were killed at the scene in a gun battle with police that left one officer critically wounded. It was the deadliest attack on Israeli civilians in more than three years, and the worst in Jerusalem since 2008.
Witnesses and Israeli leaders were particularly horrified at the religious overtones of an attack on a synagogue that killed men in ritual garments and spilled blood on prayer books.
“To see Jews wearing tefillin and wrapped in the tallit lying in pools of blood, I wondered if I was imagining scenes from the Holocaust,” said Yehuda Meshi Zahav, the veteran leader of a religious emergency-response team, describing the straps and prayer shawls worn by the worshipers. “It was a massacre of Jews at prayer.” Read more at The New York Times.
Yaakov Amos had just finished calling silently on God to “grant peace everywhere, goodness and blessing; grace, loving kindness and mercy to us and unto all Israel, Your people,” when two terrorists stormed into Har Nof’s largest synagogue at 7:01 a.m. on Tuesday.
Amos, a trained trauma therapist, was in the middle of the Amidah prayer when he heard a pair of gunshots issued in quick succession. “Boom-boom,” he said.
He swiveled around fast, his feet still together in prayer, and saw “a Jew in phylacteries” on the floor.
In those seconds, Amos was transported from the calm of the meditative prayer into the middle of a massacre, as terrorists armed with a gun, a knife and meat cleaver killed four people and injured several more. Witnesses and rescue workers described a gruesome scene inside the Jerusalem synagogue, with blood spattering prayer books and people in the middle of prayer caught in the carnage.
Read more at The Times of Israel.