Mouth That Roars

Bill Liblick has made a name for himself of National TV Talk Shows where he spouted his outspoken views from the front row. Now he offers you his opinion every week in the "MOUTH THAT ROARS" Column in the Sullivan County Post.

- Subsribe at
February 10th, 2012

Mazel Brings Torah Back Home

Whether it be setting fires, desecrating property with messages of hate, or stealing religious articles, it seems like every day we are reading headlines involving repulsive hate crimes towards houses of worship.
One really has to wonder what would motivate a human being to commit such a heinous crime as stealing a sacred Torah from a Synagogue.

A Torah is one of the most cherished and holiest works of Judaism. The scroll hand written in Hebrew lettering contains the first five books of Hebrew Scripture including the entire body of religious law and learning including both sacred literature and oral tradition.

The Torah stolen from the Landfield Avenue Synagogue in Monticello was valued at $35,000 and was most likely headed to the black market. Thanks to great police work the Torah was returned and a criminal was apprehended.

Several years ago a Torah was stolen from the Swan Lake Synagogue and was replaced with one that was considered not to be “kosher.” The Torah was eventually recovered by the New York State Police from a Synagogue in Brooklyn, but the criminal was never apprehended.

I am sure many of us remember the hatred demonstrated towards our seasonal summer Hassidic and Orthodox Jewish population a few short years ago. Swastikas were found at a bungalow colony with denigrating graffiti covering a handball court along with the desecration of holy books.

A special subcommittee was formed by the legislature along with others to ease tensions and educate people on tolerance and respect. Hopefully this incident will lead our legislature to reactivate this committee to continue the dialogue.

The theft of the Torah brought a wide range of emotion from a lot of people for many reasons. Not only was the criminal act disgusting, but the sanctity of religion was violated.

Sullivan County residents always unite in times of tragedy, but I was particularly impressed to see how everyone came together in expressing their anger over the stolen Torah.

Specifically, Village of Monticello Mayor Gordon Jenkins must be commended for all of his efforts in bringing people together. He was not only outspoken over the robbery of the Torah, but was there to join in the celebration of its return.
Jenkins’ actions will go a long way in bringing the Jewish and Black communities together in the Village of Monticello, and he must be praised for that.

Rabbi Ben-Zion Chanowitz and the congregation of the Landfield Avenue Synagogue have a lot to rejoice over. Their Torah is back in safe hands and the love and affection congregants received from Sullivan County was monumental. I am certain it will never be forgotten. The end result is truly an act of mazel, luck, fate, and fortune.

As for the thief who stole the Torah, I hope our judicial system sees to it that he is prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. And, if convicted, his sentence must be strong enough to use as an example to stop those who would ever contemplate committing such a hateful, heinous, and sacrilegious crime.

Comments are closed.