CLARKSTOWN, N.Y. -- Two fire-bombing type incidents took place at the home of two Clarkstown Rabbis on Tuesday, according to the Clarkstown Police.
Although officials with the Jewish Federation of Rockland County and Rockland County Legislature Chairman Alden H. Wolfe are calling the incidents "attacks," and "hate crimes," Clarkstown Police Sgt. Allen Armstorng said it was his understanding that the events were fireworks and might have been the work of kids.
The incidents took place at the home of Rabbi Simcha Morganstern, where about 15 adults and children were gathered and where an incendiary device was set off under the gas tank of a parked car at about 10:30 p.m.
A few seconds later a similar attack took place a block away at the home of Rabbi Avremel Kotlartsky, where a bush adjacent to the house was set ablaze. No one was hurt in either incidence.
Morganstern is the new associate Rabbi at Chabad of Rockland in New City and Rabbi Kotlartsky is the senior Rabbi.
“The climate of hate that has been created on both the national stage and here in Rockland is unacceptable,” Wolfe said. “Words have consequences. A climate of hate has consequences."
Wolfe is calling upon the entire Rockland County community to call out hateful rhetoric when they hear it or see it: “Elected officials should examine their own behaviors and take the appropriate steps to squash the use of hateful language and to quell any hateful and potentially deadly behavior,” Wolfe said.
The Jewish Federation said on Facebook that the federation "condemns these potentially deadly attacks in the strongest possible terms. There is no justification or excuse whatsoever for such acts."
They also thanked Clarkstown police and New City firefighters who they said responded quickly to both events which prevented the spread of fire and limited the damage.
The Community Relations Council of Jewish Federation said they believe the events must be investigated as anti-Semitic hate crimes.
"To that end, we have communicated our concerns to the police department in Clarkstown and also to Rockland County. Our goal is to ensure that these events are taken very seriously by the police; appropriately investigated to determine if hate crimes were committed and bring those responsible to justice," they stated.
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