An unknown assailant set fire to a Jewish center in Brooklyn, New York, during the second day of Yom Kippur, a Jewish holiday that ends Wednesday.
According to The New York Post, citing police, the arsonist lit a backpack which they then placed on the front steps of the center at around 1 am Wednesday, before fleeing on foot. The fire department was called to put out the fire.
This is not the first time a Brooklyn Jewish community center has been attacked by an arsonist: in November 2018 seven Jewish synagogues and Jewish schools were set on fire, and in 1993 a “suspicious” fire completely destroyed a synagogue in Brooklyn.
New York Police admitted it was stepping up patrols around synagogues ahead of the Jewish holiday.
We want NYC’s Jewish community to feel safe knowing additional NYPD cops will be protecting synagogues during Yom Kippur. Practicing any religion without fear is at the core of our great city. NY’s Finest remain steadfast in our mission to ensure this for every New Yorker. pic.twitter.com/agSz8GwfCm— Chief Terence Monahan (@NYPDChiefofDept) October 9, 2019
The attack on the Jewish center comes as a German man killed multiple people in a shooting attack in Halle. On Wednesday, a heavily-armed man conducted a bomb and gun attack on the Halle synagogue, Jewish cemetery and a nearby kebab shop, killing two and injuring another two while spouting anti-Semitic, anti-immigrant, and anti-feminist wiords and phrases. The attack was live-streamed on Twitch.
Yom Kippur, or Day of Atonement, is the holiest day of the year in the Jewish religious calendar. Jews traditionally observe this holy day with an approximate 25-hour period of fasting and intensive prayer, often spending most of the day in synagogue services. Due to the specifics of the Jewish religious calendar, the exact date varies slightly each year. In 2019, the holiday was celebrated on 8 and 9 October.