What to Know
- Fireworks were set off outside the homes of two Rockland County rabbis
- A woman at one of the homes said she saw four young men or teenagers running through the yard and throwing a firework
- The Anti-Defamation League of New York said it is working with police as they gather evidence
Police are investigating after fireworks exploded outside the homes of two rabbis in Rockland County this week, police say.
A woman heard a loud boom outside of her home on Tarry Hill Drive in New City around 10:45 p.m. on Tuesday night. When she went to see what the noise was she saw four young men or teenagers running outside of her home. One of the men then threw a firework at her home. It exploded next to a tree and caught the tree on fire, according to police.
As police investigated, they were told that a similar explosion occurred at a neighboring home on Phillips Hill Road. People were gathering at the home when they heard a loud boom coming from the driveway. They went to see what caused the noise and found a firework between three parked cars.
Chany Kotlarsky said her children alerted her to the fireworks that were going off on her front lawn.
"The embers were going high up right against the siding of the house," she said. "It was very scary."
The first explosion apparently occurred outside the home of Avremel Kotlarsky, the Director of Chabad. The second explosion was outside the home of Rabbi Simcha Morganstern, an associate rabbi at the Chabad of Rockland, according to the Anti-Defamation League of New York.
The ADL of New York said Wednesday that it is working closely with law enforcement as an investigation continues and has posted a $2,500 reward for information in the case.
“We are outraged by this shocking incident in what appears to be the alleged targeting of two prominent rabbis,” said Evan R. Bernstein, a regional director at the ADL of New York.
“While we are relieved that nobody was injured, such a troubling incident like this can effectively intimidate the broader Jewish community, leaving them feeling vulnerable and at risk,” Bernstein said.
Rabbi Simcha Morganstern said he thinks the stunts were premeditated.
"The fact that it was two rabbis homes almost simultaneously kind of points to premeditated, no question," he said.
Police said they are looking for video surveillance evidence and increasing patrols in the area.
Investigators ask anyone with information to call the Clarkstown Police Department at 1-845-639-5840.