Monsey Memories: The Fire at Neturei Karta

Monsey Memories: The Fire at Neturei Karta

Yitzy Fried

The year was 2007, and it was the evening of the first night of Pesach, when the Neturei Karta-aligned Bais Yehuda Shul burned to the ground, as we read in the Journal News.

“A suspicious fire last night burned down a synagogue-house used by an anti-Israel, ultra-Orthodox Jewish group, whose members attended the Iran-sponsored Holocaust denial conference last year. Ramapo Police and county arson investigators views the blaze as suspicious because Neturei Karta has been the target of threats.

“Last night’s fire on the eve of Passover destroyed the Bais Yehuda, a synagogue and residence at 102 Saddle River Road. The building is a block from Route 306. Dozens of Hasidic Jews and other people lined Saddle River Road as 75 firefighters from Monsey, Tallman, Spring Valley, Hillcrest, and other volunteer departments powered water against the building.

“Flames had already engulfed the three-story structure when Monsey firefighters arrived at 8:14 p.m., within two minutes of the fire being reported. ‘Fire was blowing out from the side of the building when I arrived,’ fire chief Douglas Perry said last night.

“Perry said people lining the streets and downed electrical lines temporarily impeded firefighters from getting into the building. The fire’s origin was being investigated by Ramapo police detectives and the Sheriff’s Department Bureau of Criminal Investigation arson detectives. ‘Right now, we are terming this fire as suspicious, Captain James Quinn of the Ramapo police said at the fire scene.

“The fire almost spread to what fire officials called a dormitory behind the synagogue.

“Water from fire hoses rolled down Saddle River Road as firefighters battled the blaze in steady rain. Flames could still be seen in the attic after 10:00 p.m.

“Police yellow tape cordoned off dozens of residents watching the fire. Many supported Neturei Karta’s anti-Zionist views, while others opposed the group. Neuturei Karta’s Hasidic Jews oppose the Jewish State on religious grounds and believe Jews should live under Arab Muslim rule until the Messiah comes.

“Over the years, Neturei Karta members have burned the Israeli flag and met with people and groups that have vowed to destroy Israel."

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