Rabbi Yossi Wolff and members of the Chabad of Cutler Bay and Homestead found themselves scrambling an hour before the start of sundown services to find a new place to worship Friday.
“This was on the floor; it’s a cover to the ark,” Rabbi Wolff tells CBS 4’s Gwen Belton. “That thrown on the floor is a desecration right before the high holidays,”
Rabbi Wolf took pictures of the vandalism, which took place in a home that was to have been used for their prayer services. It had been loaned to the congregation, and because of its size, would have accommodated about 80 people who were expected to attend the services, for the start of Rosh Hashanah–the Jewish New Year.
Rabbi Wolff says he is both disappointed and concerned.
“I do think it was intentional to have the prayer shawls thrown on the floor like that, to have the cover on the floor. If they just wanted to take, why touch a garment which is a prayer shawl?” he says.
Rabbi Wolff decided to move the services to his home, where regular services are held. It will be a little cramped, he says, but he and his congregation are determined not to be intimidated.
“This incident is horrible. Nobody bothers anybody and this whole country was based on freedom of religion and people are still pretty sick,” says Les Haber, a member.
Rabbi Wolff says this is an unfortunate setback, especially on such a religious holiday, but they will move forward. He says their goal is to build their own synagogue to prevent these types of incidents in the future.
“What can you do, just keep both oars in the water and keep stroking,” says Scott Matza, also a member.
Services did go on, but undoubtedly, not without concern over who did this and why.