‘Hate will not win’: Rabbi says firebombed New Jersey synagogue back to routine
Luke Tress is an editor and a reporter in New York for The Times of Israel.
Rabbi Marc Katz of Temple Ner Tamid in New Jersey says the congregation has resumed its activities after a masked man hurled a firebomb at its door early yesterday morning. The synagogue canceled all events and classes yesterday.
“There’s a little bit of heaviness about today, as one would expect, but I was heartened to see that our building is full again with preschoolers learning,” Katz tells The Times of Israel. “From what I’m finding, people are not going to let this scare them away from educating their children, from finding spiritual connection, from finding community.”
He says the synagogue began investing in security measures after the white supremacist rally in Charlottesville in 2017. The congregation received a grant from Homeland Security, hired consultants, created emergency plans, and trained staff.
The reinforced door to the synagogue blocked the Molotov cocktail last night and surveillance cameras captured the suspect, aiding law enforcement’s search. Katz says the synagogue will not likely change its security measures after the incident because the congregation is well-protected.
He says there have been recent incidents of antisemitism in the area, including swastikas drawn on playgrounds and school desks.
“There’s a general ethos of hate. In general what I would say though is I still fundamentally believe that the majority of people are allies and that any hatred that we are seeing is lone actors or very small groups who feel emboldened in this climate,” he says.
He thanks other faith leaders and political leaders for the “outpouring of support” after the attack.