Congregation Emanu El is considered a Holy Place.
Harris County prosecutors say a woman broke in and desecrated it last Saturday, leaving behind several thousand dollars in damage.
Instead of showing up to court for her hearing Friday, they say she came back to the temple and did even more harm.
”The damage is immeasurable,” said Assistant Harris County District Attorney, Erica Winsor.
Last Saturday, Winsor says a rabbi getting ready to officiate a Bar Mitzvah at Congregation Emanu El walked into an unholy surprise.
”He found an individual on the pulpit,” Winsor says.
That individual was identified as Ezra Law, and Winsor says she wasn’t there to pray.
”There were several religious items that had been removed from their place. Some were damaged, there was red wine that had been consumed and also spilled,” she said.
The allegations get even more sacrilegious.
”Most importantly, there was a Torah scroll that was removed from the Holy Arc and spread out on the floor. And there was red wine that was spilled on that scroll,” she said.
A Torah is Jewish holy scripture handwritten with a quill and ink that could take years to scribe.
“It can’t just be repaired. It might have to be replaced,” Winsor said.
Law was arrested, but prosecutors say instead of showing up to court for her arraignment Friday, she returned to the congregation.
She allegedly screamed and shouted at preschool children during their chapel service, then left before officials could arrive.
A warrant was quickly issued for her arrest.
”Make no mistake. If you’re competent and you’re sane and you engage in conduct that offends both our sensibility and the penal code, you’re going to have to answer for it,” said KPRC 2 Legal Analyst, Brian Wice.
The Bar Mitzvah was able to proceed last Saturday.
KPRC 2 told that Law’s mental state will be evaluated once she’s booked into the jail, but for now, she’s being charged with felony criminal mischief inside a place of worship.
Officials now working to determine whether her actions classify as a hate crime.
On Sunday, a spokesperson from the Congregation Emanu El released the following statement:
"The events of this past week have made many of us concerned about our safety and that of our loved ones. Our security team is committed to ensuring the safety and security of congregants, staff, and especially our children. Our security policies and protocols are under careful review to determine what further changes must be made to strengthen our security posture. Like all synagogues, ours is a place where we can bring our deepest hopes and most profound yearnings; we remain committed to preserving Emanu El as a place where our community can safely gather to pray, learn, and celebrate together.
I cannot comment further or provide any specific details about this case without jeopardizing any ongoing investigations or legal proceedings.”