Yitzchok Breitowitz, “The Struggle to Preserve the Dignity of Our Ancestors,” part 1, Jewish Action (summer 1996); part 2, made available to me in prepublication form by Rabbi Breitowitz, is forthcoming in the fall issue.


I suggested an analogy to the case of a mezuzah (a casing enclosing a parchment scroll attached to the doorpost of Jewish homes). On moving from the home, it is forbidden to remove the parchment scroll if the home is to be occupied by Jews. But if there is a likelihood that the mezuzah will be desecrated, it must be removed. “There is almost a presumption of desecration if the home is not to be occupied by Jews,” Rabbi Breitowitz told me.

I also asked Rabbi Breitowitz what halachah would require if the site of Qumran, where the Dead Sea Scrolls were found, were turned over to the Palestine National Authority (the site is in the West Bank). Adjacent to the site are over a thousand Jewish (probably Essene) graves marked by stone piles. Rabbi Breitowitz opined that religious law would require the removal of the bones and reburial in a place where they would not be subject to desecration.