No injuries reported

Chicago police have tightened operations to secure the city’s Jewish institutions after an arsonist twice tried to set alight a synagogue structure located in the central part of the metropolis. Vandals also smashed windows of vehicles parked outside a synagogue in the North Side. A second incident happened during the early hours of Sunday morning in the neighborhood of West Rogers Park.

Anthony Ricci, the Deputy Police Superintendent, gave the order to provide synagogues, Jewish owned businesses, and Jewish schools “special attention” while these suspected hate crimes get investigated.

The Lakeview neighborhood witnessed two attempts by two unknown persons to set fire to Anshe Sholom B’nai Israel synagogue. Molotov cocktails were thrown at the building. Nothing was damaged. The surveillance cameras installed fixed to the synagogue walls filmed the actions taken by the arsonists. According to law enforcement authorities, they have good images of one of the suspects.

These attacks come quickly after three arson attacks shook the Massachusetts city of Boston during the third week of May. Compounding the problem is the spike in anti-Semitic incidents within New York city during 2019’s first quarter. A Poway, CA shooting took place in April, although the recent attacks did not result in any damage or injuries. These have led to concerns that yet another metropolis in the United States harbor the potential for anti-Semitic attacks against Jewish institutions and Jews. The police forces have partnered with the FBI to investigate all such incidents.

Rabbi David Wolkenfield penned a letter to his congregants where he mentioned an attempt to violate a sacred space which serves as the functional heart of the community. He urged the congregants to rededicate themselves to honor the shul’s sanctity. The Jews, he reminded everyone, will celebrate the event of Shabbat as community members and will take advantage of all other times to get engaged in prayer all through the week. It is essential for Jews to support each other and stand together when one or many members of the Jewish community need help or are frightened.

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