(April 13, 2020 / JNS) A northern Russian synagogue was severely damaged on Sunday, during the holiday of Passover, in what was an apparent arson attack, according to the local Jewish community.
Although no one was hurt in the fire, the entrance hall of the Northern Star Jewish community center and synagogue in Arkhangelsk, some 750 miles north of Moscow, was torched.
“At about 3:40 a.m., a perpetrator threw tires over the fence, then climbed over, quickly moved the tires closer to the building, doused them with a flammable liquid and set them on fire. Firefighters arrived 15 minutes later, when the facade was already blazing,” said Anatoly Obermeister, who heads the Russian Jewish Congress’ Northern Region, in a statement.
His comments were based on video surveillance.
The perpetrators are unknown and have yet to be caught.
Obermeister noted that it was the communal property’s third arson since 2015, though the previous two resulted in little damage.
“In April 2015, unidentified persons fired an air rifle on the building while it was under construction. They sprayed anti-Semitic graffiti on it. In 2016, a firebomb was hurled at the construction site,” according to JTA.
After four years and nearly $4 million in fundraising from private donors, the three-story building with its 500-seat synagogue was inaugurated in 2018.