Happening Now Now

Chicago police's arson unit investigating 3 Molotov cocktails found outside Lakeview East synagogue – Chicago Tribune

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Worshippers at a Lakeview East synagogue noticed broken glass on their way to Sunday morning services but didn’t think anything of it.

Later that morning, they saw charred rags and realized there had been an arson attempt on Anshe Sholom B’nai Israel Congregation, according to Rabbi David Wolkenfeld.

“This synagogue is so central to so many people in this neighborhood, and this is such a wonderful city to be Jewish, so it’s shocking to realize there can be someone so filled with hate to engage in an action like this,” Wolkenfeld said.

Chicago police confirmed that between 9 p.m. Saturday and 8:30 a.m. Sunday, someone tried to set the building in the 500 block of West Melrose aflame.

Three broken glass bottles with an unknown substance and charred black cloth towels were found outside, police said. No one was injured, and no buildings were damaged.

The Jewish congregation shares a campus with the Florence G. Heller Jewish Community Center, which runs a day care center and preschool next door, Wolkenfeld said.

Chicago police will be boosting their presence at all Jewish schools, synagogues and businesses in the city, spokesman Anthony Guglielmi tweeted Sunday night.

No one was in custody Sunday night, but Guglielmi stated there was “good video evidence” and Area North detectives and the department’s arson unit were investigating.

In another instance of criminal damage reported near synagogues, police are also investigating multiple broken windows in cars parked outside synagogues in the Rogers Park district, Guglielmi said, adding that there are “different suspects” in both incidents.

“This is a sad thing to be happening, but this is a very strong community and we know to come together and support each other during hard times, and that’s exactly what we’re doing,” Wolkenfeld said.

ayin@chicagotribune.com

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