2002-06-15 / Community

Quick Temple Demolition Raises Suspicions

By Jim Manago

By Jim Manago

A local environmental group, Friends of Rockaway, Inc. has questioned why the Congregation Derech Emunoh at 67th and Larkin Avenue had to be demolished so quickly after the fire, before more intensive investigation could take place.

It was a spiritual and cultural landmark, and many communities admired its presence with the cupola and Star of David as seen from the Gaston Avenue Subway Station. Now it's gone and a big void exists.

Bernard Blum, President of Friends of Rockaway, Inc., says that the city and the federal government should investigate the benefits to development of such quick demolition. The fact that it was still standing and not toppling when taken down creates suspicion.

"To allay all suspicions, the authorities should have waited," Bernard Blum lamented. "I prayed there, and it's gone so quickly. There should be an investigation to determine motives for a potential torching."

"One might ask could a highway thread the needle between the synagogue and the Addabbo Health Center (scheduled for transfer to Calgary Hall at Beach 62 and Beach Channekl Drive). With the site unfenced anyone could have poured accelerant onto the site for quick removal," according to Blum. He concluded that now we will never know for sure.

And Blum ponders, "could the firehouse be another highway obstacle, and will it's safety potential for the community also be sacrificed?"

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