One week after a break-in forced a Tiberias synagogue to delay a long-planned renovation to its centuries-old building, its directors are working overtime to maintain a modicum of services to tourists in one of Israel’s busiest seasons.

According to Rabbi Shneur Turkov, who runs the Chabad-Lubavitch center in Tiberias’ Old City on the shore of the Sea of Galilee, unknown intruders smashed every window when they robbed the synagogue, ripping out the historic building’s antiquated metal bars. They emptied the safe and the Chabad House’s many charity boxes, taking more than $5,000 in cash. They also lifted silver Judaica pieces from the synagogue sanctuary and adjoining gift shop, and several computers.

Police estimate that the break-in occurred between midnight June 23 – when Turkov closed up after a late night Torah class – and 6:00 the next morning.

“Whoever did this knew what they were doing,” said Turkov. “They knew that the neighborhood is deserted at that time, because it is strictly a business district, a tourist spot. No one is here during off hours.

“And they also knew that we do a lot of fundraising during the summer,” he added. “They were after the donations left by visitors from abroad.”

Schneur and Rocha Turkov had been raising money since the spring holiday of Passover to fund much-needed renovations. Those have been put on hold while they tend to more-immediate repairs. They replaced the doors, but most of the windows are still without glass. An upgraded security system is top on the synagogue’s list of priorities.

Investigators have combed the synagogue twice for evidence, but “they have told us that they do not have any leads,” said Schneur Turkov.

Rabbi Yosef Kramer, who directs Chabad of Tiberias, praised the Turkovs’ work in running the synagogue and learning center, especially in the wake of the robbery. He pointed out that while the renovations have been delayed, the hope is that they’ll begin in earnest this winter.

“We are still cleaning up, still trying to cover the basic repairs,” reported Turkov, “but people have been very supportive. A lot of pledges have already come in to help us to move forward with our original building project. We’re moving forward.”