Charred Torahs as synagogue goes up in flames

A blaze sparked early Sunday morning in Tallahassee is under investigation. Rabbi Schneur Oirechman was in South Florida when it happened.

MIAMI BEACH, Fla. – There’s devastating damage inside the synagogue at Florida State University.

The blaze, which sparked early Sunday morning, is under investigation. Rabbi Schneur Oirechman said he was in South Florida fundraising when he got the news.

It’s a historical landmark for many of FSU’s Jewish students.

Much of the rabbi’s family is in South Florida. Oirechman’s 18-year-old son is in a rabbinical school in Miami Beach.

“Torah scrolls were burned, there are a lot of holy books that were burned,” Sholom Oirechman, the rabbi’s son, said.

Two sacred Torah scrolls and two decades’ worth of manuscripts, books, and lesson plans, a life’s work, are likely all destroyed.

There are deep South Florida connections to the Chabad house. Issac Salver, alumni and Bay Harbor City Councilperson, is on the board.

“It breaks my heart. The rabbi has been in Tallahassee working for the Jewish community and the community at large since 2000 or before that,” Salver said.

The campus is named after the parents of Diana Tabicinic Sragowitz.

“It’s a loss, hopefully a loss we can rebuild very soon, as soon as possible, because right now these kids are left without anywhere to go,” said Tabicinic Sragowitz, whose family donated the campus.

The rabbi had this to say: “In the face of darkness you add more light” determined to rebuild.

Oirechman said there are plans to construct a temporary structure. A website has been set up for donations.

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The cause of the fire is unknown.

About the Author:

Reporter Rosh Lowe has been covering news for nearly two decades in South Florida. He joined Local 10 in 2021.