Passover in Potomac (Maryland): Synagogue Windows Shot Out


The windows of the Beth Sholom Congregation temple in Potomac were shot out sometime overnight Sunday.

The act of vandalism occurred at the start of the Jewish Passover holiday, which begins Monday evening.

News 4's Chris Gordon reported that eight windows were shot out at the temple with a BB gun. Most of the windows were over doorways, and one was made of stained-glass. The temple was empty when the shooting occurred, and no injuries were reported.

Stephen Bashein, the president-elect at Beth Shalom, said that the motivation for the crime had yet to be determined.

"Is it anti-semitism?" he said. "That's for someone else to determine."

Police investigated the scene this morning, and found eight BBs at the scene. They did not yet make a judgment as to whether the act was a hate crime.

Authorities are investigating more vandalism up the street at the Fortune Terrace shopping center.A jewelry store window has a big hole in it, Gordon reported, and the same thing happened next door at a ladies apparel store. A very small hole was also found in the Starbuck's window a few doors away.

"I think it's just kids and vandalism, but I'm no expert," George Kaufmann, co-owner of Robert Bernard Jewelers said.

Surveillance cameras may have caught the culprit's car at about 1:30 a.m., Gordon reported.

“It does show a lone vehicle driving up to within 30 feet of the stores and something coming out of the window," Montgomery County Police Officer Howard Hersh said. "It appears to be an older, two-door hardtop, perhaps a gold-colored car.“

Police are investigating the vandalism as a possible hate incident.

“Passover is our festival of freedom, of release from bonds, and unfortunately in much of Jewish history in Europe, it was also a terrible time when Jews were attacked,” Bashein said.

The investigation continues. Check back with NBC Washington for more updates as the story develops.

SOURCE: NBC Washington



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