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Parishioners of a synagogue in Turkey saved ancient Torah scrolls during an earthquake

08.02.2023 ТАСС 58 просмотров

An earthquake in Turkey damaged an old synagogue, but ancient Torah scrolls have been saved.

An ancient synagogue in the Turkish city of Antakya was damaged during a devastating earthquake that occurred on Monday, two members of the local Jewish community are missing. This was reported on Tuesday by the Israeli newspaper Jerusalem Post.

As the newspaper notes, the synagogue parishioners — a few representatives of the local Jewish community — managed to take out of the building the ancient Torah scrolls stored in it (the holy scripture of the Jews, corresponds to the Christian Old Testament Pentateuch). Rabbi Mendel Hitrik, a well-known Turkish rabbi, arrived from Istanbul to help them, who helped to get valuable manuscripts from the damaged building.

"Together with [other representatives of] the Jewish community of Turkey, I came here to help rescue residents in Antakya. We also ensured the preservation of the ancient Torah scrolls of the local Jewish community, which has existed for 2.5 thousand years," he told the Jerusalem Post. In total, according to him, they took out eight scrolls from the damaged building built in 1890. "The synagogue itself is damaged, but, unlike other buildings in the area, it is still standing," the rabbi stated.

According to Khitrik, after the earthquake there is still no news about two representatives of the local Jewish community, their search continues. The rest of the community is alive, the rabbi said.

As the Jerusalem Post notes, the history of the Jewish community in Antakya — ancient Antioch — dates back 2.5 thousand years. To date, almost all Jews have left this city. In 2021, Rabbi Hitrik visited Antakya and noticed then that the local Jewish community has only 14 people — 7 men and 7 women, and almost all of them are already in old age. The rabbi, after his last trip, bitterly stated that the synagogue in Antakya no longer gathers a minyan — a quorum of ten men necessary for community prayer.

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