Rabbi: Fireworks attack a hate crime

Fireworks exploding moments apart outside the New City homes of two Rockland rabbis are being investigated as a possible hate crime.

Fireworks exploding moments apart outside the New City homes of two Rockland rabbis are being investigated as a possible hate crime.

Fireworks exploding moments apart outside the New City homes of two Rockland rabbis are being investigated as a possible hate crime. (8/11/16)

NEW CITY - Fireworks exploding moments apart outside the New City homes of two Rockland rabbis are being investigated as a possible hate crime.

Police say the first fireworks went off outside the Tarry Hill Drive home of Rabbi Simcha Morgenstern late Tuesday night.

A short time later, more fireworks were set off a block away at the Philips Hill Road home of Rabbi Avremel Kotlarsky. Nechama Kotlarsky, the rabbi's daughter, says the family heard a blast, went outside and saw a group of boys running away.

"I thought they were some teenagers who threw off some fireworks, were having some fun and were running away," she says. "And then I saw them throw something onto the lawn and the firework exploded in front of the house."

The firework wound up setting fire to a large bush in front of the house. No one was injured.

The rabbi's house has been targeted by vandals in the past. Because of that, the explosion is being treated as a bias crime by Clarkstown police.

In a Facebook post, Rabbi Morgenstern wrote, "You know hate when you encounter it. It is never productive, never constructive and the outcome is always destructive."

Clarkstown police are asking anyone with information to call them at 845-639-5800. The Anti-Defamation League is offering a $2,500 reward for information.

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