Austin synagogue collects almost half a million in donations after fire caused by arson

Austin synagogue collects almost half a million in donations after fire caused by arson

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One person has been arrested and is in federal custody.

AUSTIN, Texas – The Austin Synagogue at the center of a fire caused by an arsonist has received a spate of support over a period of just over a month.

The fire, which investigators believe began on October 31 by a man currently in the FBI’s custody, caused significant damage. Initially, it was thought that the fire only caused damage to the front door of the Beth Israel Congregation, but smoke damaged other parts of the synagogue and forced members out of its sanctuary.

Since then, Beth Israel has donated nearly half a million dollars after the synagogue opened Portal on its website to accept donations online. Approximately $ 498,000 in donations came from Texans and even from other parts of the world, the ward said in a December 8th newsletter. KVUE had previously reported that the damage was estimated at around $ 150,000.

A total of 1,038 people from Texas and 40 other states donated, but 70% of the donations came from Texas people. The community has also received donations from people in Canada, New Zealand, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom. About 237 members of the Beth Israel Congregation also donated.

The president of Beth Israel said in the newsletter that the congregation will be consulted before a decision is made as to which architectural firm will make repairs and improvements to the sanctuary.

Franklin Barrett Sechriest, a Texas State Guard student and student at Texas State University in San Marcos, was arrested in connection with the fire.

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https://www.kvue.com/article/news/local/austin-synagogue-fire-beth-israel-donations-repairs/269-23d7ea23-7853-4b1c-b0ad-1904dc314974