Thursday, January 10, 2008

The penalty meted out by the British Army to two Redcoats for desecrating Siphrei Torah during the American Revolution

Here's an interesting note about something which happened at K"K Shearith Israel:

During the war of the revolution, two british soldiers broke into the Synagogue in Mill Street, and Stole the remonim; destroyed two of the Seapharim,* and threw them into the sink; the Soldiers were apprehended and Severely flogged, one of them died from the effects.

* One of the above Sepharim was on Ivory rollers and belonged to the late Mr. Uriah Hendricks, & the other to the Congregation.

From "Naphtali Phillips, pg. 216, PAJHS Journal 21 (1913).

In this book from 1955 there is a photo of one of the scrolls, which was still kept in the ארון הקודש, and perhaps still is today. Unfortunately I don't have this photo at my disposal, but the Torah looked wrinkled (like it had been wet) with two or three holes with blackened edges.

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