Another MA Synagogue Burned In Response To Levin Article
NEWS 10/06/2039 8:31 PM ET
Another MA Synagogue Burned In Response To Levin Article

Joanna O'Donnell
Deputy Religion Editor, Huntington Courier

CC BY-SA 4.0 - image changes released under same license The Poile Zedek Synagogue, New Brunswick, NJ, on the evening of October 23, 2015, having been thoroughly gutted by fire by Rickyrab | Writer image: CC BY 4.0 Street Woman by Rodrigo Paredes | Images were cropped. Images used for illustration purposes only.
Worcester synagogue Temple Bnai Chaim was gutted by fire.
On Thursday another Massachusetts synagogue was destroyed by arsonists, in the latest attack on Jewish houses of faith.

Temple Bnai Chaim, located in Worcester was the fourth to be engulfed in flames. The temple has existed for over 160 years and was the largest by congregation, outside of the Boston area.

The attacks are understood to be in retaliation for Mo Levin's piece last week in the Boston Globe, affirming Israel's right to settlement in the West Bank, and calling Islam "an affront to the U.S. Constitution".

Rabbi Benjami Sipri, leader of the congregation, today called for solidarity.

"We have lost a little piece of our home today. But we cannot lose sight of our objective, which is to be shalom, at peace with our friends, and our neighbours. We are all of us who used to worship here, Jews, but also Americans", he said.

The attack on Temple Bnai Chaim follows similar attacks on synagogues in Amherst, Sturbridge and Greenfield.

Worcester Police Chief Clayton Bruce issued a statement today:

"At no point will we accept that these acts of arson and crime, belong in the community of Worcester. We will be pursuing all leads and will tirelessly hunt the perpetrators of this attack on the citizens of Worcester."

Police in the other attacks are still pursuing lines of investigation.

Speculation has been rife that students from Harvard, Boston College or Boston University are somehow involved. In the wake of Levin's article the three institutions served as the backbone of mass protests and candlelight vigils.

In those demonstrations, campus police were attacked, and police cruisers destroyed. Afternoon speeches drew tens of thousands of students from the greater Boston area, who protested the Islamophobic nature of Levin's article and demanded their institutions divest from any firms doing business in Israel. Some student organizations have demanded the explusion of Jewish students.

A black 'C' in a red circle has been painted in various places around those institutions, which some interpret as a 'call' to resist.

It is unclear to what extent the authorities investigating the attacks are pursuing leads within the student community.
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