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Video shows masked man attempting to burn down Bloomfield synagogue

Essex County Crime Stoppers is offering a $10,000 reward to anyone who can help police make an arrest.

News 12 Staff

Jan 30, 2023, 10:25 AM

Updated 534 days ago

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Bloomfield police are asking for the public’s help identifying a masked person wanted for trying to burn down a synagogue on Broad Street in Bloomfield.
Essex County Crime Stoppers is offering a $10,000 reward to anyone who can help police make an arrest.
The incident happened over the weekend. A police officer was spotted outside Temple Ner Tamid on Monday as a precaution. Members of the congregation were visibly upset by the attempted arson.
"You hear about all these antisemitic incidents, and you never think it’s going to be your synagogue and that's what's upsetting,” says Wendy Grossman.
The surveillance video of the incident shows a person in a black hoodie wearing a ski mask. He is seen lighting a bottle with an accelerant and throwing it at the entrance to the synagogue. It happened around 3 a.m. Sunday. The bottle broke, but the fire did not spread.
“I don’t know why this happened to us,” says Rabbi Marc Katz.
Katz says that after seeing more and more acts of antisemitism over the past few years, temple leaders have increased the police presence, installed cameras, put up shatterproof glass doors and installed boulders to act as a barricade. He says he is not surprised by the incident.
“We need to process the fact that many people don’t feel safe just living in this country and as Jews,” Katz says.
Acts of antisemitic hate are on the rise, according to the Anti-Defamation League. Incidents are up 25% in New Jersey from a year ago. And New Jersey is second only to New York with the highest number of antisemitic incidents.
"I often think that incidents like this are driven by misunderstanding and that's where hatred comes from - people not understanding why things are the way they are,” says Democratic Rep. Josh Gottheimer.
Gottheimer says Congress has provided grants to synagogues and churches that need security. But what Gottheimer, Katz and Grossman believe is needed, along with security, is education to stop these types of actions. There is a concern over copycat crimes, which is why some other temples in this area have also increased security.
Anyone who might have information about the attack on Temple Ner Tamid is asked to contact Bloomfield police at 973-680-4100.


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