Tolerance. “Java’s Last Synagogue Torn Down,” by Camelia Pasandaran for the Jakarta Globe, June 15 (thanks to David):
The last vestige of one Indonesia’s oldest and largest Jewish communities is now just a pile of rubble.
Beth Shalom in Surabaya “” Java’s one and only synagogue “” was demolished in May after being sealed off by Islamic hard-liners in 2009.
“It’s not clear when exactly it was demolished and who did it,” Freddy Istanto, the director of the Surabaya Heritage Society (SHS), told the Jakarta Globe.
“In mid-May, I was informed by a member of the SHS that the synagogue was destroyed. In disbelief, I went over there and it had been flattened.”
Freddy reported the case to the Surabaya Legislative Council and prompted the commission to summon the Surabaya Tourism Agency, which was responsible for the heritage building.
“It was designated a heritage site by the agency on April 16, 2009. It should”ve been protected,” Freddy said.
A small, Dutch-style building located on a 2,000 square meter plot of land in the middle of Surabaya’s business district, Beth Shalom looked like an ordinary house in the neighborhood. The only features that distinguished it as a synagogue were its mezuzah (Torah scrolls fastened to an entrance way) and the two Star of David carvings on its door.
“There were many artifacts inside the building which can’t be found in other heritage sites,” Freddy said….