CHICAGO (CBS)– Police released surveillance images of a man wanted for throwing Molotov cocktails at a synagogue and a Jewish community center early Sunday morning.
On Monday, Chicago police kept a watchful eye on Anshe Sholom B’nai Israel, a congregation in Lakeview.
“This has been a frightening and confusing 24 hours,” Anshe Sholom B’nai Israel Rabbi David Wolkenfeld said.
No one was injured, but congregants are shaken.
“This is a building that means so much to so many people. This is a chance to kind of remind us just how much the congregation means to all of us,” Wolkenfeld said.
Meanwhile, police in Wauconda said they had two incidents involving anti-Semitic graffiti over the weekend. Wauconda, police told CBS 2 they received reports of anti-semitic graffiti at two parks and both incidents of vandalism involved the same orange spray paint.
The attempted arson and graffiti comes days after a string of arson attacks on Jewish Centers in the suburbs of Boston. Surveillance video captured one the suspects involved.
Chicago police said it is also investigating a string of incidents involving someone smashing the windows of cars parked outside synagogues in Rogers Park.
“The unfortunate reality is this is following a trend of increases attacks against Jews and Jewish institutions,” David Goldenberg, the Midwest Regional Director of the Anti-Defamation League, said.
Goldenberg said the number of anti-semitic incidents in 2018 was the highest it has been in 28 years.
“Illinois is pretty concerning,” he said.
Illinois data shows a substantial increase since 2016 when just 10 incidents were reported. Last year, 51 incidents were reported.
Goldenberg said technology could be contributing to the problem.
“No longer are some of these conversations happening in the back room of a building, but they’re happening online and they’re happening every single day and they’re happening on a smart phone and it’s much easier for those with these extremist views connect,” Goldenberg said.
Monday afternoon Chicago police did not have an update on the search for the attempted arson suspect. Rabbi Wolkenfeld said the incident has only made his congregation stronger.
“We are committed to staying in Lakeview staying in Chicago and living our lives as proud and joyful Jews,” he said.