Photo Credit: Google Maps
Anshe Shalom Bnai Israel Synagogue and the Florence G. Heller Jewish Community Center in Lakeview East, Chicago

Chicago police is boosting their presence at all Jewish schools, synagogues and businesses in the city, according to Chief Communications Officer Anthony Guglielmi.

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Chicago police confirmed earlier that between 9 PM Saturday and 8:30 AM Sunday there was an attempt to set fire using Molotov cocktails at two separate locations in the 500 block of West Melrose.

Members of the Lakeview East synagogue on Sunday morning saw broken glass on their way to prayer services but did not report it. But later the same morning, according to Rabbi David Wolkenfeld of the Anshe Sholom B’nai Israel Congregation, they discovered singed fabric next to the glass and realized someone had tried to burn down their synagogue.

“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,” Rabbi Wolkenfeld told local media.

The synagogue shares a yard with the Florence G. Heller Jewish Community Center, which runs a day care center and a preschool.

Chicago police are searching for a suspect who allegedly attempted to set fire to Anshe Sholom B’nai Israel Congregation in the Lakeview neighborhood.

Police released surveillance footage of a suspect, a light-skinned male wearing a hooded black jacket, black pants and black shoes, carrying a black bag.

Guglielmi also reported that “in addition to the attempted arson at the Synagogue in the 500 block of W Melrose (19th Town Hall Dist), detectives are also investigating a pattern of cars with windows smashed outside of synagogues in the 24th Rogers Park District. We have different suspects in both incidents.”

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