GLBT Jewish Congregation May Have Been Bomb Target

Security increased at North Side synagogue

By Marcus Riley
|  Saturday, Oct 30, 2010  |  Updated 2:15 PM CDT
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One of the packages containing explosive devices may have been meant for a North Side Jewish gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender congregation.

The packages, which originated in Yemen, were intercepted late Thursday night aboard a cargo plane in Dubai, and the other in England.

The Chicago Tribune spoke with the Rabbi Michael Zedek of Edgewater's Emanuel Congregation, which shares space with Or Chadash, a GLBT congregation. Zedel says he received a call from an official in the Jewish community Friday.

    "(The official) said, 'I've got some good news and some bad news,'" Zedek said. "'The good news is that your congregation was not one (of the targets); the bad news is that Or Chadash was.'"
The congregations were informed about situation Friday night and there was a strong police presence around the synagogue, an Or Chadash official told the newspaper.

Rabbi Larry Edwards told NBC 5 that he was surprisded to learn third-hand about possibly being targeted. He finds it "frightening" and "amusing."

"We're a very small congregation, and can't believe our reputation reaches all the way to Yemen," Edwards said.

The other package may have been headed to an East Rogers Park synagogue, but that hasn't been confirmed, the Tribune reported.

President Barack Obama Friday called the incident a "credible terrorist threat" against the United States.

The events "underscore the necessity of remaining vigilant against terrorism," the president said.

U.S. officials said they were increasingly confident that al-Qaida's Yemen branch, the group responsible for the failed Detroit airliner bombing last Christmas, was responsible.

Preliminary tests indicated the packages contained the powerful industrial explosive PETN, the same chemical used in the Christmas attack, U.S. officials said. The tests had not been confirmed.

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