The Rabbinical Alliance of America — Igud HaRabbonim, representing over 950 American Rabbis — condemns the August 25, 2020, arson attack on the Chabad Center at the University of Delaware. The Chabad Center, although not officially part of the University of Delaware, serves as an important Jewish cultural and religious institution on campus and services the religious and spiritual needs of the Jewish students who attend Delaware University. According to Assistant State Fire Marshal Michael Chionchio the torching was an arson, but there is “no indication of a hate crime” and that the fire marshal’s office is “exploring all avenues.”
Rabbi Mendy Mirocznik, executive vice-president of the Rabbinical Alliance of America stated, “The RAA fully condemns this intentional act of arson on an important and visibly Jewish building at the University of Delaware. The trauma this has caused the American Jewish community and all decent people is beyond description. The RAA calls on Jewish students to identify publicly as Jews even more now. In the face of anti-semitism, we must respond by strengthening our Jewish identities. We must show the haters that we will not go away. We are Jewish and proud of it.”
Rabbi Mirocznik continued, “The RAA is pleased with the quick actions of the fire department in controlling the blaze and the investigative work by the Fire Marshal’s office. Nevertheless, the RAA calls upon the authorities to swiftly investigate the matter to determine whether this incident is a hate crime.”
This request of the RAA for further investigation comes after the torching of a local church on July 21. “The RAA finds it suspicious that in the short span of six weeks, two religious institutions in proximity during the time of Covid were the victim of arsons. This raises concern among members of the faith-based community, particularly the Jewish community who are currently grappling with a rise of ant-Semitic incidents.
The only way to root out hate, bigotry and anti-Semitism is by tackling it head on and holding those accountable responsible for their actions. Society needs to see the authorities conducting a thorough investigation. Hopefully, the results will not point to a hate crime. By conducting a complete investigation we set the tone, showing how seriously we take hate crimes and that society will not tolerate such hateful actions.