Fire-bombs Hit Two Synagogues, Hasidic Rabbis’ Homes, School

Police pushed an investigation today into the fire-bombing of three buildings housing two synagogues, the homes of two Hasidic rabbis and a Jewish school, early yesterday morning in Brooklyn’s heavily Orthodox Boro Park section, the site of growing tensions between Hispanic youths and Jews.

Police said damage was severe to one synagogue. Chasdei Chernobil, Grand Rabbi Jacob Twersky, head of the Chernobil Hasidim, was not at home when the firebomb attack occurred. Police said 26 fire-bombs were found on the roofs of two buildings in the area.

Rabbi Eugene Cohen, Rabbi Twersky’s son-in-law, called damage to the synagogue “extremely heavy,” adding that the synagogue’s Torah scrolls were saved by neighbors. He said he could not understand why the synagogue was firebombed. The arson at the synagogue building took place around 5 a.m. Two hours earlier, two firebombs were tossed at a building housing the Congregation Machzike Adas and the Machzike Talmud Torah. Damage was described as moderate at the school.

Three firebombs were tossed at the home of Rabbi Shabse Meisels during the night, a police spokesman saying that the firebombs were thrown “from a group” of 25 Hispanic youth. The spokesman said there were no injuries, no arrests and only slight damage to the building.

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