'Better to sell to Muslims than to destroy it'

Jerusalem-area rabbi quoted as supporting selling a synagogue to become mosque in time of great need.

Haim Lev ,

Mosque (illustration)
Mosque (illustration)

French Jews were outraged last week to discover that a Marseilles synagogue had been sold and was being converted into a mosque, due to "changing demographics" in the city. 

But it seems converting a synagogue into a mosque is better than destroying it - or leaving it to be defaced, a Jerusalem-area rabbi insisted Monday. 

"It is better to sell a synagogue to be a mosque, and not a church - because Muslims are not [considered] idolators and Christians believe in cooperation [i.e. between God and Jesus - ed.]," Rabbi Eliyahu Schlesinger was quoted, in a discussion on haredi forum site B'Hadrei Haredim

The main point, he said, is that - in the case of great need - it is ultimately better to shutter a synagogue and allow it to reopen under questionably permissible circumstances than to see it abandoned and, likely, desecrated by anti-Semites - or turned into a theater or other entertainment venue. He quoted leading Jewish legal expert Rabbi Moshe Feinstein in this latter opinion. 

The Or Thora synagogue on Saint Dominique Street in Marseilles, near the Saint-Charles train station was sold a few months ago for approximately $400,000 to the Al Badr Association, La Provence reported Thursday.