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September 23, 2021 6:27 pm
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Car Ramming Attack Attempted at LA Synagogue Sukkot Concert, Says Security Group

avatar by Sharon Wrobel

Congregation Shaarei Tefila in Los Angeles, California. Photo: Google Maps / screenshot

A Jewish congregation in Los Angeles was left in shock on Wednesday night after a man reportedly attempted to ram into a crowd of people as they were attending a Sukkot holiday concert.

According to Magen Am, a non-profit that provides security to Jewish institutions, the attacker allegedly accelerated down a one-way alley into a crowd of women and children as the concert at LA’s Shaarei Tefila synagogue was coming to an end.

The crowd of about 20 to 30 managed to jump out of the path of the vehicle before the assailant stopped short in front of a metal gate, yelled “f**k the Jews” and left, the group said.

The group also said that about 20 minutes prior, the man had “canvassed” the event and issued threats, saying, “I’m a real Muslim, I’ll show you what real terrorism looks like.”

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The Los Angeles Police Department told The Algemeiner that officers responded to the scene at around 10:57 pm to a call of a possible hate crime, and completed a report for criminal threats. A victim of a possible assault with a deadly weapon declined to sign a report, the LAPD said.

A Magen Am security officer told The Algemeiner that the alleged assailant had first approached the synagogue, asking about the event, and soon after started making antisemitic insults and threats. After getting into an argument with another congregant who was reacting to the man’s remarks, the assailant threatened the Magen Am security officer, before ultimately being ushered away.

About 20 minutes later he returned and attempted to hit the group of concert-goers, the volunteer security group said.

The annual event at the congregation Shaarei Tefila, a Modern Orthodox synagogue in the uptown Los Angeles Fairfax-Hancock Park Jewish community, was attended by 400 to 500 people.

The synagogue could not immediately be reached for comment.

Magen Am’s account of the incident was later disputed by the Secure Community Network (SCN), a nonprofit organization that works to secure Jewish institutions and liaise with law enforcement.

In a Friday email to community leaders seen by The Algemeiner, SCN said that its review of the incident assessed that, while antisemitic comments were made by the subject, he drove slowly down the alleyway and did not attempt to hit any bystanders while driving away.

Editor’s note, 9/27/2021: this article was updated to include the assessment from the Secure Community Network

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