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 NJ.com. 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.”
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