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January 11, 2012 9:12 am

“Attempted Murder” Arson Attack at Rutherford, New Jersey Synagogue

avatar by Algemeiner Staff

Photo: Fir0002.

By Zach Lichaa and Noah Glyn

A fire that broke out around 5 o’ clock this morning at Temple Beth El in Rutherford, NJ, is under investigation by Bergen County authorities.

“It was a flammable object thrown”, Temple Beth El’s President Larry Goldberg told The Algemeiner.

“The Bergen County prosecutors office, arson, and other agencies have come in. Rutherford police and fire were first on the scene.  It was not electronic and it was not children on the stove”, Goldberg said

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The fire crashed through the bedroom window of Rabbi Nosson Schuman, and it set his blanket on fire. There was a fire extinguisher close to the bed, which he used to put out the flames. Rabbi Schuman heard more bombs going off on the roof of the synagogue, and that’s when he decided to call the police. His family was able to evacuate and no one was hurt.

“I thank God,” Rabbi Schuman told The Algemeiner, “It was the best possible scenario considering what happened.”

Congressman Steve Rothman of New Jersey released a statement from Washington, saying “this is not Damascus or Baghdad.  Residential communities, like those here in New Jersey, should never be attacked.”

“You can’t just look at this as an arson, you look at this now as an attempted murder”, said Bergen County Prosecutor John Molinelli.

This attack comes on the heels of other anti-Semitic violence throughout New Jersey. Someone set fire to a Paramus, New Jersey synagogue, and vandals sprayed a swastika on the doors to a Hackensack, New Jersey synagogue. A Jewish man, Richard Green, allegedly vandalized five Jewish owned stores in Highland Park and New Brunswick, New Jersey.

Rabbi Gurkov from neighboring Passaic, NJ told The Algemeiner “it’s an older struggling congregation, with a small group of committed congregants”.

According to, “investigators were on the temple’s roof, and a fire truck was parked nearby the temple”.

A local resident told the website,  “It is off a side street. It seems awful strange unless somebody has been casing it.”

The Algemeiner will continue to update this story as new details emerge.

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