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State fire Marshal investigates cause of Jewish Center fire, says 'no immediate signs of arson'

Posted at 7:25 PM, May 23, 2022
and last updated 2022-05-24 16:48:47-04

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL) — Monday was a special homecoming for Rabbi Schneur Oirechman at the Tallahassee International Airport.

"They're handmade by a scribe, it takes a very long time to produce and to write," said Rabbi Oirechman describing a Torah. "Probably about a year."

Rabbi Oirechman landed in Tallahassee with a Torah scroll, a generous friend out of Miami is lending him the scroll to continue the teachings of the Jewish faith here in Tallahassee.

The scrolls contain the five books of Moses and are sacred in the Jewish faith. Rabbi Oirechman and his Jewish Center lost the two of theirs during an early May fire.

"Torah, and writing a Torah is about unity and uniting everyone, so this is about unity," said Rabbi Oirechman.

That fire bringing together support from state and even international governments.

State Fire Marshall and CFO Jimmy Patronis toured the site Monday, showing support towards Rabbi Oirechman and his members.

Patronis said they believe what caused the fire started in the kitchen, and is being called an accident. Nonetheless, Patronis says they're looking at ways to help the Jewish Center rebuild.

"We will find other ways in the state to donate to complement the insurance proceeds to ensure that was lost here is not forgotten," said Patronis.

Also lending their support, the Israeli General Consul representing the state of Israel. Maor Elbaz-Starinsky says what happened is devastating.

"When such a devastating thing happens to a center that has been working in the community for the past 23 years, was burned down with all of the Torah books and Torah scrolls, with everything inside the first thing is to show our support," said Elbaz-Starinsky.

Rabbi Oirechmanclick here., thankful for the investigation, and those helping rebuild.

"We live in a great country, it's a country of kindness and you know, it's comforting a little bit to know that it's not an act of hatred," said Rabbi Oirechman.

If you're interested in donating to the Jewish Center, click here.