Suspect in Custody For Molotov Cocktail Hurled at Bloomfield, NJ, Temple
👮♂️ Authorities have made an arrest in the attempted firebombing of Temple Ner Tamid, officials say
🔥 Rabbi Marc Katz says security upgrades stopped the Temple from going up in flames
🕊 The synagogue is hosting an interfaith rally against hate with local rabbis, pastors, and imams
BLOOMFIELD — The masked man who threw a Molotov cocktail at a Jewish Temple on Sunday morning is in custody, according to the mayor.
"I’m proud to announce that the suspect in the Temple Ner Tamid firebombing is in the custody of the FBI and Bloomfield Police Department," Bloomfield Mayor Michael Venezia said on social media Wednesday evening.
A spokesperson for the FBI in Newark was not immediately available for more information.
Hours before the mayor's announcement, the reward for information leading to the suspect's arrest had risen to $15,000 total.
🔥 Molotov cocktail stopped by security upgrades
According to Bloomfield police, a man in a ski mask walked up the driveway of Temple Ner Tamid on Broad Street early Sunday morning around 3:15 a.m. with a Molotov cocktail in hand. He ignited the homemade weapon and threw it at the building's front doors.
However, the glass bottle broke and only caused minimal damage. Rabbi Marc Katz confirmed to New Jersey 101.5 that reinforced doors stopped the bottle from going threw the glass and igniting the building from within.
While Katz is grateful that state grants helped to pay for the security upgrades, he worries that smaller synagogues without an executive director to spend time filling out pages of forms for grant applications will be vulnerable. He sees a world where bigger synagogues will keep getting more "hardened" but smaller ones will not.
"Unfortunately, we live in an era where we do have to take these precautions. We probably don't need them everywhere, but when we do need them, they are really important," Katz said. "Who would have guessed that somebody would've shown up in the middle of the night with a Molotov cocktail outside of our congregation."
🕊 Bloomfield interfaith rally against hate
After the attempted firebombing of the Bloomfield synagogue, faith leaders and elected officials are coming together for a rally to unite against hate Thursday night. The congregation at Temple Ner Tamid will hear readings from local rabbis, pastors, and imams.
"This attack on our congregation was likely motivated by antisemitism and that is one form of hatred, but that doesn't necessarily mean that there aren't others who are dealing hatred in other forms in their own way," Katz said.
Katz said that as the rabbi of the synagogue, his job is to remind his congregation that they are safe and have allies in their community to unite against a growing trend of hatred.
The rally is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. at Temple Ner Tamid located at 936 Broad Street in Bloomfield.