Attacks on Rutherford Synagogue Put Jewish Community on Alert

Bergen County officials are warning the Jewish community to be on alert after the firebombing of a synagogue in Rutherford yesterday put a rabbi and his family perilously close to danger.

The attack on Congregation Beth El was the fourth incident in just over a month where a Bergen County synagogue was the target of vandalism or arson, reported In December, synagogues in Maywood and Hackensack were vandalized, and one in Paramus was set fire.

The latest attack happened when Molotov cocktails were thrown through the second floor windows of the synagogue, the section of the temple in which Rabbi Nosson Schuman and his family live.

Rabbi Steven Kushner of Temple Ner Tamid in Bloomfield agrees that because of the recent attacks, “Jewish institutions would be well served to be a bit more vigilant.”

Kushner said the nature of the attacks surprised him, explaining that anti-Semitic acts are mostly “benign statements of hatred: swastikas on temples, defacing synagogues, knocking over tombstones. But this could have resulted in physical injury.”

That said, he added, “I don’t want to say that I’m worried because I’m not.”

Temple Ner Tamid has long had policies in place for security, as do other synagogues in the area—and, presumably, the world. Doors are kept locked, and surveillance cameras keep track of visitors.

“Anti-Semitism is obviously nothing new,” said Kushner. “People who operate on hate are not going to go away. Our antennas are always up.”


Photo by Wikimedia Commons

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  1. I also think that because it was thrown into the second floor of the Temple, where the Rabbi and his family lived, it should be treated as a murder attempt.

  2. A radio report I heard earlier this morning indicated that the charges have been upgraded to attempted homicide.

  3. Ah, nick. I don’t know what is more telling, your odd decision to hit “submit” with such a dumb comment, or your dumb comment.

  4. They are benign because they don’t reflect the majority of people’s views and will not spread as long as we remain vigilant against this kind of hatred. The key is to remove benign tumors before they become malignant.

  5. As far as I remember, when I was a very young child and we were living in Rutherford, friends of ours, the Willis family, sold their grand old Victorian house and grounds to the Congregation Beth El. There was a hugh copper beech tree on the property that the congregation designated as a wonderful Sukkot pavilion under the branches. Even those of us children from neighborhood who were not jewish were invited to participate in the after school activities in this magnificent garden and we had so many wonderful experiences there. I will always remember this temple as a place of loveliness and how it sickens me to learn of an attack made here. If i am not mistaken, the Rutherford Beth El Congregation dates back to the mid 1800s and it is one of the oldest congregations in the NYC area.

  6. It’s incredible, appalling, shocking that this kind of thing can happen in our neighborhood (so to speak). Reading about this this morning made me realize that when it comes to evil in the world, I am naive.

  7. The attack on the Synagogue sickens me. I just don’t get the continued and ongoing hatred of the Jewish people. Countries and individuals seem to sustain themselves with a daily diet of hating ‘the jews’. What is it going to take for the hate to stop?

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