Thursday 29 January 2009

The strange case of the Florence Synagogue Bomb - Part II

Here's another free translation of another article appeared today on "Il Firenze"  about the Jan 17th 2009 bomb finding near the Florence Synagogue - The Italian original (on page 27) is here

Business and mystery: two intimidation acts against the Chabad house were never claimed by anybody. 

The founder of the 'Lubavitch base' next to the synagogue is a Jewish restaurant owner:  first the bomb,  then his car’s glasses were shattered in Bologna. But everything looks like a quarrel between shop owners.

by C. Bozza - S. Brogioni 

"A very small environment",  they had told investigators. 
An environment restricted to a single street, where  the interests of shopkeepers are interwoven and sometimes clash.
What’s behind the ‘warning’,  executed materially with a camping gas canister, given to the owner of the Chabad house in Via de 'Pilastri? It’s not anti-Semitism, it’s business. 
The investigators, who have never talked about political or even racial motives,  but about a  "demonstrative gesture", privilege this hypothesis: intimidation against Eli Borenstein, a 60 years old Jew and  member of the ultra-Orthodox Lubavitch. A community in the community, coexisting not without disagreements because of the different ways of understanding and practicing Judaism. 
Within a few days, Borenstein received two “sgarbi” - "discourtesies” - never claimed by anybody: the bomb at the Chabad house and the shattering of his car’s glasses - a rented Renault Scenic - parked in front of his home in Bologna. 
Inside there was some food. Yes, because the business of this Jew living between Bologna and Florence  (where he goes only on Saturdays) is catering. 
Kosher food,  prepared according to the strict canons of Judaism:  in practice a restaurant for the Jews, especially American Jews, who,  thanks to the big network of Chabad houses in the USA and abroad, come to visit Florence and the nearby Synagogue in Via Farini
The Jan. 17th bomb  and the shattered glasses in Bologna are not the only effects of the disputes against Borenstein. 
Nearly 10 years ago, the Lubavitch boss, coming from Milan,  had rented a house in Via de' Banchi, behind Piazza Santa Maria Novella, where he made his headquarters in town. 
The arrival of the ultra-Orthodox sect shot a spark with their neighbors. Inside the apartment, besides praying and studying the Torah, Borenstein's followers gathered to celebrate in their own way, with dance and music that sometimes drove the neighborhood mad. 
Then the resulting quarrels forced Borenstein to leave the apartment.  The Lubavitch have a radical way of practicing Judaism.  On Saturdays, a holy day, among  thousands of prohibitions,  one must also not ring the doorbell. Because of this, at any time of day or night, anyone who wanted to enter the house would yell from the street. 
And the conflict with the neighbors inevitably became nerve-racking.

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