Combined Jewish Philanthropies (CJP) and Jewish Community Relations Council (JCRC) are deeply troubled by three incidents of attempted arson at two Chabad houses this week — one in Arlington and another in Needham. The suspects in both cases remain at large, and police are seeking assistance from the public in identifying one man seen on the Chabad Center for Jewish Life of Arlington/Belmont property — also the residence of the rabbi and his family — just after the first fire was set on Saturday night.
We have been in close contact with the rabbis at both the Arlington Chabad house and the Chabad Jewish Center in Needham, as well as local law enforcement, who have been extremely responsive and supportive. Additional patrols have been provided for the safety of the residents and congregants, and state and federal officials are leading the investigation into the suspicious fires at both facilities.
CJP and JCRC appreciate the response from neighbors and local officials, who have stood with and rallied behind the Jewish communities in both towns as soon as they learned of the incidents.
Along with our partners at the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), we have been reaching out to Chabad houses across Greater Boston in recent days to discuss the incidents and to work together to boost security at facilities while ensuring a welcoming space to gather and worship.
Through the Jewish Emergency Management System (JEMS) program, supported by CJP, JCRC, the ADL, and the Synagogue Council of Massachusetts, Jewish institutions can learn about security best practices, attend in-person security trainings, and stay informed of incidents. To learn more about the program and future training sessions, visit this JEMS page.
Arlington’s Human Rights Commission will host a solidarity gathering supporting the Chabad house on Monday night at 6:00 p.m. at Arlington Town Hall, 730 Massachusetts Avenue. More information can be found here.
JCRC, in particular, continues to work with partners across faith communities and across the government to combat the rise in violence and threats against the Jewish community. JCRC and its allies call upon the state government to fully fund the nonprofit security grant program and to partner with at-risk communal institutions so that they have the resources to undertake necessary security enhancements.
As antisemitism continues to plague our region — and our world — CJP and JCRC remain committed to raising awareness, educating people about the dangers of antisemitism, hatred, and bigotry, and proactively working with partners to ensure the safety and well-being of our Jewish community.