Chicago Police on Alert After Failed Arson Attempt at Jewish Synagogue

The Associated Press
AP Photo/Gregory Bull
WARNER TODD HUSTON

The Chicago Police Department (CPD) has increased its presence at several of the city’s Jewish schools, and synagogues after evidence of Molotov cocktails were found outside a Lakeview East synagogue.

Worshippers reported an arson attempt on Anshe Sholom B’nai Israel Congregation where broken bottles, charred cloth, and a scorched wall was discovered at the synagogue on Sunday, according to the Chicago Tribune.

“This synagogue is so central to so many people in this neighborhood, and this is such a wonderful city to be Jewish, so it’s shocking to realize there can be someone so filled with hate to engage in an action like this,” Rabbi David Wolkenfeld told the media.

“Attacks of this sort are intended to frighten and intimidate us, and it is quite natural to feel fear or anxiety,” Wolkenfeld said in a letter to members of the synagogue.

The CPD reported that the evidence suggested that someone tried to set the synagogue aflame around 8:30 a.m. on Sunday.

Despite the three broken glass bottles covered in an unknown substance, the charred cloth, and scorch marks, the building was not seriously damaged.

Police reported that they are reviewing video surveillance but do not yet have anyone in custody or any suspects in mind.

The Anti-Defamation League denounced the event as “deeply disturbing.”

“While thankfully the attacks did not cause any injuries or damage,” the group said, “this incident is yet another disturbing reminder of the recent escalation in attacks against Jews and Jewish institutions.”

Follow Warner Todd Huston on Twitter @warnerthuston.

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