Flushing Temple Hit by Firebomb

August 5, 2006

Source: Queen Tribune


On August 5, 2006 the Queen Tribune reported, "The smell of burnt plastic still lingered in the air and a pair of dented, broken doors are the only indications that a possible hate crime was committed at Temple Beth Shalom on Northern Boulevard in Flushing Friday night.

A Molotov cocktail sailed into the side doors of the building around 11:30 p.m. July 28, shortly after the Sabbath services ended. The fire department determined that this was arson and has launched an investigation along with the 109th Precinct, which did not return calls as of press time.

With only minimal visible damage, including a burned large bucket and a pair of doors that firefighters broke down to ensure that there was no fire inside the building, the fire didn’t do much physical harm. But congregation members, Rabbis, local residents and the Queens Jewish Community Council remain concerned.

'We consider this an isolated incident,' said Queens Jewish Community Council Executive Director Cynthia Zalisky. 'We don’t want to rush to judgment or panic, this is just an extremely unfortunate event'... Though a report released in March 2004 by U.S. Rep. Anthony Weiner said there was a spike in anti-Semitic incidents in New York City from 2001 to 2003, Zalisky said that in Queens, anti-Semitic incidents have been infrequent, with the exception of an occurrence last year. In May 2005, 20 cars, and several bus stops and apartment buildings in Electchester, were vandalized with the words 'Kill All Jews on 7-14-05' scrawled on them in black permanent marker. In reaction to the defacement, Assemblyman Michael Gianaris (D-Astoria) created a Resolution declaring July 14, 2005 as a Religious Tolerance Day in New York State."