More than 1,000 people came to Temple Ner Tamid in Bloomfield on Thursday evening to show their solidarity, support, and love in the wake of an attempted arson attack on the building over the weekend. Elected officials including (all tagged) Sen. Menendez, reps Mikie Sherrill and Bill Pascrell, and many other local officials were on hand at the massive interfaith rally.
The tremendous crowd spilled out from the main sanctuary into a smaller chapel and then outside, where screens live-streamed the proceedings. It was truly a powerful show of support against hate and antisemitism and for Temple Ner Tamid and our Greater MetroWest Jewish community.
A man suspected of throwing a Molotov cocktail at Temple Ner Tamid in Bloomfield early Sunday morning has been arrested, according to U.S. Attorney Philip R. Sellinger.
An FBI spokesperson identified the suspect as Nicholas Malindretos, 26, of Clifton. He will be charged with one count of attempted use of fire to damage and destroy a building used in interstate commerce, according to the U.S. Attorney’s office. Law enforcement was able to identify him through video obtained from the scene as well as license plate reader matching. If convicted, he could face up to 20 years in prison.
In a statement after the arrest, Temple Ner Tamid indicated that police “will be investigating the suspect’s ties — if any — to individuals or groups with hateful, violent, traitorous, or insurrectionist goals.”
“We applaud all of our New Jersey law enforcement partners for their support and vigilant efforts to take this suspect into custody and bring some closure to this horrific attack,” said Federation Chief Security Officer Robert Wilson.
Sunday was a scary day in the Greater MetroWest community.
The attack on the Temple Ner Tamid synagogue in Greater MetroWest by an unknown individual using a Molotov cocktail stunned us all. Although we are relieved that no one was hurt and the synagogue was not damaged, these types of violent antisemitic attacks are becoming more common.
Our Chief Security Officer, Robert Wilson, is our go-to person for all of our safety concerns. He and his team are building a security shield over the Jewish community by helping train community members, improving facility security, coordinating with law enforcement, and working closely with Federations across North America.
“We are supporting the Ner Tamid community in their time of need and continue to work with them to ensure the safety of their synagogue. Ner Tamid and their leadership is an example of a synagogue that utilizes all that we have to offer from our Community Security Initiative. We had previously assessed their physical security preparedness, assisted them in applying for and receiving a Homeland Security grant, trained their staff and community, and recently conducted active threat response drills with their Early Childhood Center,” said Wilson. “We stand together and will not surrender to this or any act of antisemitic intimidation.”
It’s because of our UJA Annual Campaign that we had the professional team and resources to respond immediately to Sunday morning’s incident. We were there because we had been working with Ner Tamid previously. It is because of Federation’s commitment to a secure community that we have been able to work with many local synagogues and institutions conducting threat assessments, making best practice recommendations, and providing training so that they are prepared.
“Since a spate of bomb threats starting in 2017, synagogues have fortified their physical infrastructure with shatter-resistant windows, more security cameras and controlled access to buildings,” said Wilson.
“We have and will continue to do everything in our power to keep our community safe. Everything worked as it should. Their cameras recorded the incident and their shatter-resistant doors held.”
We are Jewish proud and security strong. Stop antisemitism together, learn more about the work Federation does year-round and share this blog on social.