Three men were charged with breaking into Beth Hamedrash Hagadol, 60 Norfolk Street, on Sunday. According to the Daily News, they were caught by Rabbi Mendel Greenbaum trying to steal copper memorials from the wall. Several other religious articles were damaged.
“I ran out and called the cops immediately,” Greenbaum tod the News. “I just wanted to cry at seeing such desecration.” Jose Cruz, Ambioris Gonzalez and Carlos Rodriguez were charged with burglary and “damaging houses of worship or religious articles.” Bail is $10,000 for Gonzalez and $15,000 for Rodriguez. Cruz has not yet been arraigned.
Beth Hamedrash Hagadol is the oldest Russian Jewish Orthodox congregation in the country, but has been closed for several years due to fire and water damage. The LES Jewish Conservancy has been trying to restore the building but the project has been stalled by financial troubles and other difficulties.