21:38 GMT +314 October 2019
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    Picture taken on May 5, 2013 shows a Star of David on the synagogue of the Jewish community in Halle an der Saale, eastern Germany

    Brooklyn Jewish Center Set on Fire During Yom Kippur – Report

    © AFP 2019 / JAN WOITAS
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    The fire was successfully put out by firefighters, but could have inflicted serious damage, as previous incidents indicate.

    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.

    ​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.

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