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Oct 18, 2010

breaking into a shul is not as bad as a house

Mishpacha newspaper reported on a guy who had attempted to break into a shul during the night to steal the money from the tzedaka box. He was smashing the lock with a metal bar, when the neighbors heard the ruckus and called the police.

The burglar was caught. When his case came to trial, he was sentenced to one year in prison, not for the attempted robbery, but for attempting to break into a place of worship, for having utensil for breaking and entry in his possession and for damage he intentionally caused to property..

In the judge's decision, she compared the breaking into a shul to an attempt to break into a private house. She said that breaking into a shul is not as serious a crime, as a shul is considered a public building. And, the judge decided, because his attempt to break in was during the night, when nobody would be in the shul, is also in his favor, along with the fact that he was only planning to steal money from the tzedaka box and not actual shul property.

What do you think - is breaking into a shul worse or better than breaking into a private house? I can justify both sides of the argument...


  1. who said it's a public place? shuls are usually privately operated, and rely on private individual's donations to stay afloat

  2. the article said the judge called it a "makom tzibburi" - a public place.
    perhaps it is in the usage of the building and registration, perhaps the shul in question is a shul that built by the city/state (many shuls are - the allocation is for every x households in a neighborhood, the city has to build a shul)

  3. Hmmm, so for example if we decide tonight to break into the judge's office...it's a very minor thing because it's a public place. Or into the courtroom just to play with the gavel.

    Somehow I think this is directly religious discrimination. If the public place were a government building or, say the Tel Aviv Theatre, I suspect the results would be considerably different.

    It's also a reasonable guess that he wasn't after shul property because there wasn't any of (sellable) value!

  4. of course this is not as bad as breaking into a house, a person can be effected very badly if there house is robbed, there sense of privacy and personal safety is also robbed.
    Anyone who says this is anti- religious need there head examined,

    and 1 year for stealing a pushka is pretty steep

  5. if I understood correctly, he only had been planning to steal the pushke, but was chased off first and then caught.
    The sentence was for a combo of attempted break in, in possession of "klei pritza", and damage caused to property.

  6. Keren Lev Kupa Shel Ha'irOctober 18, 2010 7:40 PM

    Maybe he was trying to break in so that he could DONATE to the Kupat ha'ir pushke!

  7. I heard that he got off easy because he stole the Lema'an Achai pushke in the shul.

    According to some rabbis here in RBSA that's not real tzedaka anyway.


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