News Bloomfield Temple targeted by incendiary device, officials say – NBC New York
Police are stepping up patrols of synagogues in some parts of New Jersey after someone wearing a ski mask threw a lit Molotov cocktail at a synagogue overnight in an apparent attempt to set it ablaze, authorities said.
No one was injured in the incident at Temple Ner Tamid in Bloomfield at 3.20am on Sunday. According to police, security footage showed a man walking up to the chapel with a Molotov cocktail, setting it on fire and throwing it at the door.
According to police, the glass bottle was broken, but there were no reports of damage. The suspect then fled down the driveway. Police released surveillance images of the suspect, showing him wearing a ski mask (below).
The congregation said it was working with local Jewish groups and the Anti-Defamation League to respond to the attack.
“We have done and will continue to do everything we can to keep our community safe. Everything is going as expected. Our cameras recorded the incident and our shatterproof doors are closed. But what I cannot do is convince our community not to Growing up frustrated. Hate is everywhere, and when we let it seep, hate wins,” Rabbi Mark Katz said in a statement.
Katz said the temple recently received enhanced security with funding from the state’s Office of Homeland Security and Preparedness.
David Saginaw is the director of the Greater Westside Jewish Federation of New Jersey, which includes Bloomfield’s Essex County as well as Morris, Sussex, Union and Somerset special county. Security partners from other Jewish community groups in New York and New Jersey participated in the investigation.
Anyone with information is asked to call Bloomfield Police. The Essex County Attorney’s Office, the FBI and the ATF have also been notified and a joint investigation is underway, officials said. The superintendent of schools in nearby Montclair said security would also be heightened in the area on Monday.
New Jersey Attorney General Matthew Platkin acknowledged Bloomfield’s active investigation and said his office has been aware of another incident involving a Monmouth County church since Saturday. It’s unclear whether Platkin’s office believes there may be a connection, but both cases are being investigated as potential bias crimes.
“We recognize that these attacks come at a time when violence continues to erupt in Israel and our own country is dealing with violence at home,” Platkin said in a statement. Assure – especially our friends and neighbors in the black community and Jewish faith – that law enforcement will continue to take appropriate steps to increase our presence near sensitive sites so that everyone in our state can worship, love, And live without fear of violence or threats.”
Governor Phil Murphy also issued a statement on Twitter saying he had been briefed on both incidents, adding that “violence or hate has no place in New Jersey.”
New Jersey and New York reported record highs of anti-Semitic incidents and attacks last year, and a man was arrested in early November on suspicion of threatening temples across the state.
Saginaw said this latest case highlights the persistence of the problem.
“This incident occurred in a climate of intimidation and intolerance, and amidst rising trends in anti-Semitic hate crimes and hate speech against Jews,” he said. “Our Jewish Federation will continue to work with all partners in our community to stand up to hate, build our resilience, and promote safety and security.”