Dark Dealers Push Precious Torah, Cops Come In


MOSCOW, MARCH 18.-RIA NOVOSTI – Two Tajik nationals were caught red-handed in Moscow’s centre as they tried to sell a Torah scroll, evidently very old and precious, for US$600,000, reports Colonel Alexander Vorobyov, chief of PR of the federal Interior Ministry economic crime board.

Officers of the organised crime squad detained the amateur antiquarians. Experts are studying the ancient parchment scroll, 17 metres long, to make a realistic evaluation and detect provenance.

The Sepher Torah is a copy of the first five books of the Old Testament – Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy – whose authorship is traditionally ascribed to Moses. The scrolls are meticulously made on special parchment with observation of stringent religious rules, and preserved in synagogues. Even new scrolls go at exorbitant prices, and their thefts are rampant.