October 2020 -- Tishrei- Cheshvan 5781,  Volume 26, Issue 10

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Lincoln Park Jewish Center Deeply Mourns Torah Theft

By Stephen E. Lipken


Lincoln Park Jewish Center, Yonkers (LPJC) suffered the loss of a precious Torah prior to the Yom Kippur Holiday, according to LPJC President Jack Schweizer.


“The incident happened on Friday afternoon, September 25th, about 4:50 p.m.,” Schweizer noted. “The perpetrator took the Torah and a Tallit in addition to a laptop computer, guitar, and articles of clothing belonging to a LPJC member.


“The alleged thief changed into the clothing, dumped his initial outfit into a trash bin and left approximately an hour later in which we have video surveillance, at 5:50 p.m., shortly before the Shabbat Service. Our caretaker called the Police who came during the Shabbat Services.  They received a Flash Drive from LPJC’s video surveillance and investigated around the building.  On the day of the theft, the robber was wearing a Harvard University tee shirt, had a beard and appeared to be Caucasian.


“On the day of the theft, he first came in at 12:50 p.m. then left the building.  The surveillance shows that he went around to the door to the left of the property and walked around.  He probably scoped out the building for a means of access into the synagogue and found a weak point.  We are not sure how he got in and appears that he knew the layout of the building.


“The Torah had a white cover, commemorating Board Member Sidney Goldman’s 90th birthday,” Schweizer continued.  “The scroll’s fading lettering was recently repaired.  Our Torah is approximately 100 years old.  The Universal Torah Registry was queried and the missing Torah was not recorded.


“It is an ongoing investigation.  The Yonkers Police are looking into the case aggressively and the LPJC community is hopeful that the Torah will be recovered and the perpetrator apprehended. Of course, the Congregation was very upset, especially since it was just before Yom Kippur and we had to use another Torah from the Small Chapel,” Schweizer concluded.