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Rabbi wants to restore menorah stolen from Brookline synagogue later found in West Roxbury

A Brookline police officer dusted for fingerprints from a recovered menorah at Temple Emeth in Brookline on Wednesday.
A Brookline police officer dusted for fingerprints from a recovered menorah at Temple Emeth in Brookline on Wednesday.David L Ryan/Globe Staff

BROOKLINE — Brookline police detectives are trying to figure out who stole a 6-foot-tall menorah from Temple Emeth and then abandoned it less then a mile away in West Roxbury.

On Wednesday morning Rabbi Alan Turetz stood in the rotunda in front of the Chestnut Hill temple, and looked down solemnly at a small tangled mass of electrical wires that marked the spot where the menorah once stood.

Turetz learned about the theft around 7 a.m. when he got a phone call from Temple Emeth’s executive director. “I was obviously distressed by it,” he said.

Turetz said police are looking into the possibility that someone stole the menorah with the intention of selling it for scrap metal.

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“The wires were cut, and it was removed,” said Turetz. “It wasn’t defaced, it wasn’t cut up. There were no symbols or anything put on the building . . . they just left with the piece, probably assuming it was an item of great value.”

When asked about the possibility of it being a hate crime, Turetz said he hopes that isn’t the case. “The police are very carefully looking into all aspects of it,” he said.

Temple Emeth is located at the rotary where Grove Street intersects with West Roxbury Parkway in Chestnut Hill. The congregation was founded in 1939 and the temple was built in 1948.

The menorah was recovered by Boston police around 6 a.m. Wednesday and returned to the synagogue soon afterward.

The menorah was discovered near the intersection of Weld and Church streets in West Roxbury.

“Somebody recognized that it came from here,” Turetz said.

Brookline police Detective Pat Mahoney said of the menorah “It’s very heavy, it’s about 300 pounds....it’s big.”

The menorah is one of two that usually stand in the rotunda in front of the temple, clearly visible to passing traffic.

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“They’re very beautiful lit up,” said Turetz.

Turetz said he hopes to repair and reinstall the menorah.

“We want our history intact,” he said.

Police asked anyone with information about the theft to contact Brookline police detectives Mahoney and Brian Sheehy at 617-730-2244.


Emily Sweeney can be reached at esweeney@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @emilysweeney.