Hampstead Jewish community’s Torah scrolls returned after shock burglary

Two Torah scrolls stolen from a Jewish community in Hampstead (Picture: Met Police)

Two Torah scrolls stolen from a Jewish community in Hampstead (Picture: Met Police) - Credit: Archant

Precious Torah scrolls belonging to the Hampstead Jewish community have been recovered after they were taken from a Barnet home.

The two holy texts – hand-written Hebrew versions of the first five books of the Bible – were seized by a masked intruder who came face-to-face with a shocked lodger in Ashbourne Grove, Edgware.

Their absence left owners Rabbi Larry Tabick and Rabbi Jackie Tabick – and the Hampstead Reform Jewish community – “in mourning”.

But yesterday police found the £40,000 scrolls near a road in Potters Bar, Hertfordshire.

Barnet CID’s Pc Louise Bates said: “It is fantastic that these scrolls have been found and returned to their owners.”

But she added that the search for the person who took them goes on.

He is described as white, about 5ft 10in and was wearing black clothes with a scarf across his face when he took the scrolls.

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The rabbis explained that it was a “great shock” to see their home “ransacked”, adding that it was an “even greater shock” for the lodger who encountered the intruder.

In their original appeal, they said: “The fact that scrolls are hand-written in itself means that they are expensive to replace.

“But this is not an issue of cost. Their real value is symbolic, and deeply spiritual.

“In fact, the Torah reading forms the heart of these services. A community that has lost its Torah scrolls has lost its heart, and it is a cause for mourning, almost as if a much-loved relative and friend had died.

“The Hampstead Reform Jewish Community is mourning with us.”

Anyone with information about the burglary is urged to call Barnet CID on 020 8733 4439 or 101.

You could also remain anonymous by calling Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 or visiting crimestoppers-uk.org