A $20,000 reward is being offered for information leading to the arrest or conviction of the person or people responsible for setting fires at Chabad Centers in Arlington and Needham in Massachusetts.
The state fire marshal is offering a $5,000 reward, and the Anti-Defamation League is adding another $15,000, MassLive reported.
“This is not just an apparent attack on a Jewish house of worship, this is also an attack on a Jewish home,” said Robert Trestan, executive director of the Anti-Defamation League’s New England office. “Homes and places of worship are among the safest places not just for Jews, but for everyone in the country and in the community.”
At a press conference, Rabbi Avi Bukiet of the Chabad Center of Needham, MA, and Mrs. Luna Bukiet, who had 2 suspicious fires set outside their home this week, thanked the community for their support after the frightening incidents, and said they will not be deterred from their work of providing a Jewish community to anyone who seeks one.
“Our message is and will always be open doors,” Rabbi Avi Bukiet of the Chabad Center for Jewish Life of Arlington said Friday. “We are opening our doors to anyone. Anyone who wants to study, anyone who wants to learn, anyone who wants to have a little piece of spirituality and Judaism in their life, we will be there for you.”
A Joint Terrorism Task Force is investigating the suspicious fires set on Saturday night and on Thursday evening.
A fire was set Thursday evening at the Chabad Center of Needham, MA, not long after a second suspicious fire at a Chabad House in Arlington, MA the evening before.
Chanie Krinsky, who runs the Needham Chabad center with her husband, Rabbi Mendy Krinsky, reported that somebody tried to set their house on fire.
News of the fire came as police in Arlington stepped up patrols around another Chabad Center, which had its second fire last night.
Arlington police and state authorities are investigating and searching for a potential suspect after a second suspicious outdoor fire was reported outside the home of Rabbi Avi Bukiet, that also serves as the Chabad Center for Jewish Life, on Thursday night, around 9 p.m.
The first was on Saturday night around 11 p.m., when Arlington Police and Fire were called to the home on Lake Street to investigate a fire alarm.
Responders were met by the homeowners and their three children, who were inside a car in the driveway.
“We smelled a lot of smoke,” said Rabbi Avi Bukiet. “There was a ton of smoke inside in the basement going up to the first floor.”
Rabbi Bukiet told police that he and his wife and children left the home after they heard the alarm and smelled smoke. They were not injured in the incident.