An disturbing and apparently anti-Semitic incident was reported by Rabbi Sholom Ber Rodel, head of the Chabad of Mount Olympus located in Los Angeles, who reveals that his car was set on fire on Tuesday night.
"While my wife and I and our children were asleep, we were awakened by the blaring sounds of a car alarm and what sounded like gun fire, explosions and fireworks. It was at 2 a.m. My wife and I ran out to see what was going on," reported the rabbi in a message seen by Arutz Sheva.
After heading outside, he recalls, "to our shock and disbelief, we saw my car engulfed in a blazing inferno of fire. There were explosions coming out of the car every few seconds. We immediately woke up the children from their bed and we ran with them outside, far down the street, fearful that the fire would spread to the house."
"We called the Fire Department and Police. The Fire Department put out the fire and the police started initial reporting and investigating. Shaken, we put the kids back to sleep and resolved to work in the morning to figure out what happened."
Sitting down with their neighbor Joe Tuchmeyer along with Rabbi Velvel Tsikman of the Chabad Russian Synagogue, the couple saw on security camera footage that a Hyundai Sonata pulled up next to their car at 1:52 a.m. and over the course of a minute-and-a-half two people broke into the car and set it on fire in a premeditated arson attack.
Rabbi Rodel then contacted Shmuly Newman, chaplain for the Los Angeles Police Department Hollywood Division, under whose jurisdiction his house falls.
Newman "brought on board officers and investigators from the L.A. Police and Fire Departments, and the Department Heads of the Arson and Counter Terrorism units. He also contacted the Jewish Federation of LA who also sent out CSI investigators. All of the above government law enforcement and security officials started investigating the crime scene. They interviewed my wife and me and examined the footage and collected the evidence for further investigation."
The rabbi noted that the FBI and other Federal agencies are working on the case, and declared, "these cowardly actions will not intimidate us into hiding or fear or submission. We will not deviate from our mission to provide care for the spiritual and physical needs of our dear community. While we take the proper security measures, we know and trust that Hashem (G-d – ed.) is guiding and watching over us and that we are protected."
He added that he is initiating a new campaign called "Fighting Fire with Fire," inviting all Jewish women and girls in the community to light Shabbat candles this Friday.
"Please inform us of your lighting mitzvah as it will be a great source of support and comfort to us. Also, for those who wish to show solidarity in person, we invite you to come at 7:45 p.m. to our Shul Chabad of Mt Olympus to light the Shabbat candles with us," said the rabbi. "We also invite all men and boys over Bar Mitzvah for the Great Tefillin Wrap at 9:30 a.m. on Sunday morning, June 28th at Chabad of Mt. Olympus followed by Breakfast. Please let us know if you will be attending either of these events."
Rabbi Rodel noted that Jewish holy articles including tefilin, mezuzot and prayerbooks were burned in the arson attack and are not covered by insurance, and invited those who wish to contribute to fund the purchase of new ones at the community's website.