PLEASANTON (KPIX 5) — From the front parking lot of the Chabad of the Tri-Valley it would be hard to see the damage caused by the overnight fire, and it would be impossible to know know how hard one rabbi worked to save what was inside.
“It was one in the morning, and I had fallen asleep on my couch,” says Rabbi Raleigh Resnick. “I got a call from the police department saying the building was on fire. I live right around the corner, I came in my car. There were firefighters all over the place.”
Rabbi Resnick didn’t have far to go to reach his burning synagogue, and considering the damage to the rear wall and the roof, it could have been so much worse.
“It’s intact, thank God,” says Resnick. “We’re here to tell the tale. Everyone is safe.” In the heat of the fire, however, there was a lot to be worried about.
“The first thing on my mind was the scrolls,” Resnick explains.
“They’re handwritten scrolls from the five books of Moses, copied from scrolls that are copped from scrolls going back 3331 years. I ran to the building. The firefighters, they stopped me at the entrance of the building. They told me they would arrest me if I went in. But they were amazing. They got the scrolls. Had it not been for the fast response time the entire building would have burned down, we wouldn’t have those scrolls. And God forbid, God forbid.”
So the scrolls, and the building, were saved. Rabbi Resnick is already working to put things back together, and he says he has plenty of help.
“The outpouring from the community has been unbelievable,” he says. “I can’t thank them enough for what they’ve done. And we’re all going to come together and rebuild, and it is going to be the most beautiful synagogue in the area.”
Investigators say the fire started somewhere on the exterior of the building. While the exact cause is still under investigation, authorities say there is no evidence of arson.