Chasidic religious dissident burned by attacker in N.Y.


NEW YORK (JTA) — A member of a dissident congregation in the Chasidic village of New Square, N.Y., suffered severe burns after confronting a suspected arsonist outside his home.

The Journal News reported that Aaron Rottenberg, 43, suffered third-degree burns on 50 percent of his body after he confronted a man carrying a rag soaked in flammable liquid outside his home early Sunday morning. During the confrontation, Rottenberg’s clothes caught on fire.

Ramapo police later arrested Shaul Spitzer, 18, on assault and attempted arson charges. Spitzer had burns on his hands and arms.

Rottenberg’s family and other members of the dissident congregation reportedly have faced violence and harassment in the homogenous town dominated by the Skverer Chasidic sect. Spitzer, one television station reported, is said to be a live-in butler for the sect’s rebbe.

The attack took place during the holiday of Lag b’Omer, which is observed by lighting bonfires.

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