Firebomb hurled at NJ synagogue by masked man
BLOOMFIELD — State and local authorities are investigating after a man in a ski mask threw a Molotov cocktail at a synagogue early Sunday morning, according to Bloomfield police.
Surveillance video showed a man holding the homemade firebomb in the driveway of Temple Ner Tamid around 3:15 a.m., police said.
He lit the Molotov and threw it. The glass bottle shattered against the front door but it did not explode and the suspect quickly ran away.
The attack has put cops in nearby towns on high alert. Livingston police said it had increased patrols near temples.
Attorney General Matthew Platkin said in a statement that his office is investigating the attack as a possible bias crime.
"We are cognizant of the fact that these attacks have occurred while violence continues to erupt in Israel, and while our own nation reckons with violence at home," Platkin said.
Platkin added the firebomb attack comes after an attack on a church in Monmouth County on Friday night that is also being investigated as a bias incident.
"I want to reassure all New Jerseyans – especially our friends and neighbors of the Black community and the Jewish faith – that law enforcement continues to take the appropriate steps to increase our presence around sensitive places so that everyone in our state can worship, love, and live without fear of violence or threat."
Rabbi Marc Katz told NorthJersey.com that he found the broken glass and gasoline outside the temple later Sunday morning. He said that security upgrades, including a shatterproof barrier over glass, may have stopped the Molotov cocktail from breaking into the building and causing significant damage.
“There’s a new level of anxiety among my congregation because this hits closer to home than anything they’ve experienced,” Katz reportedly said. “My job is also to take care of them and help process this and help them talk to their kids about this and to emphasize that we remain proudly Jewish in light of rising hatred."
Antisemitic acts in New Jersey reached a new high in 2021, the latest year with complete data, according to the Anti-Defamation League. The Garden State saw the second-highest number of antisemitic incidents of any state, only behind New York.
The Bloomfield police department is asking anyone with information or video to contact its detective bureau at 973-680-4084.
Rick Rickman is a reporter for New Jersey 101.5. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org
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