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Attack on N.J. synagogue being treated as murder attempt

NEW YORK (JTA) — An explosive thrown through the window of a New Jersey synagogue and residence is being treated as attempted murder, the Bergen County prosecutor said.

The latest in a string of attacks that have hit the county’s synagogues recently took place Wednesday morning at Congregation Beth El in Rutherford. The Orthodox synagogue doubles as a home for its rabbi, Nosson Schuman, and his family. Schuman suffered slight burns but no one else was hurt, The Record newspaper reported.

In the past month, synagogues have been attacked in Paramus, Maywood and Hackensack. Police are unsure if the attacks, which include anti-Semitic graffiti and a fire, are related.

U.S. Rep. Steve Rothman, who represents Bergen County in the House of Representatives, in a statement called on the FBI and the U.S. Attorney’s Office to pool their resources with the Bergen County Prosecutor’s Office and Rutherford Police Department to solve the latest attack.

"This is not Damascus or Baghdad," he said. "Residential communities, like those here in New Jersey, should never be attacked."

A previously scheduled meeting involving law enforcement and representatives of 80 synagogues and Jewish day schools to discuss enhanced security measures in the wake of the attacks will be held Thursday.

"This is getting out of control, this is so troublesome,” Joy Kurland, director of Jewish Community Relations for the Jewish Federation of Northern New Jersey, which is organizing the meeting, told The Record. "This is beyond comprehension that someone could do such horrible harm to a rabbi and his family."

In addition to calling for increased security and patrols around synagogues, schools, and other Jewish institutions, the Anti-Defamation League is offering a $2,500 reward for information leading to the arrest of the perpetrators.

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