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Rabbi’s car set on fire outside Chabad synagogue

Security cameras at Chabad of Mt. Olympus show two individuals vandalizing a Hyundai Sonata belonging to Rabbi Sholom Rodal, the Chabad’s rabbi, at 2 a.m. on the morning of June 24, according to Rodal as well as a police official.

The two were caught on camera setting the car on fire. It was parked outside of the Rodal home on a residential street in Laurel Canyon where the home, which also serves as a synagogue, is located. Rodal said prayer books and tefillin that were in the car were destroyed, but he said nothing was stolen from the vehicle.

“At about two in the morning we heard loud noises and explosions…[they] torched our car,” which was parked in the street, Laurelmont Drive, Rodal told the Journal on Wednesday. The rabbi’s family was at home at the time.

Lt. Alex Vargas of the Los Angeles Police Department Hollywood Division said Wednesday that police were conducting an investigation into the incident, which did not cause any injuries. As of Wednesday afternoon, no arrests had been made.

Rodal said he did not know whether the perpetrators intentionally targeted his car, or if they did so randomly. Security cameras recorded the incident but did not clearly identify the people responsible.

The 41-year-old rabbi said his chief concern was providing reassurance to his synagogue community that everything would be OK.

“I’m just trying to let our community members know we’re working on making it safe,” Rodal said.

Chabad of Mt. Olympus serves an array of Los Angeles Jewish community members, including people from the Russian community, the Persian community and others, Rodal said.

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