After a Las Vegas security guard was arrested last week and charged with planning to bomb an unnamed local synagogue, many in the local Jewish community wondered if they could have been targeted.
The answer, it turns out, is a bit more complicated.
The synagogue Conor Climo allegedly planned to attack was Lev HaShem Messianic Synagogue, the Las Vegas Review-Journal reported Wednesday. The house of worship is part of the “Messianic Judaism” movement, which claims that one can be Jewish and also believe that Jesus is the Messiah and son of God. Mainstream Jewish groups believe that Messianic Judaism is just another form of Christianity and thus refuse to partner with or accept them as a Jewish denomination.
Jered Hundley, the spiritual leader of Lev HaShem, told the Review-Journal that sharing the news of the thwarted attack with his congregation on Saturday was difficult. “There were audible sounds of people as the realization hit them,” he said.
Climo, 23, is accused of planning to attack the synagogue with Molotov cocktails and improvised explosive devices. He also allegedly planned to attack an LGBT bar and the local offices of the Anti-Defamation League, a Jewish organization that tracks anti-Semitic organizations.
In response to the news of Climo’s arrest, the ADL issued a statement saying that it had “requested additional police patrols and a heightened alert status around all Shabbat services. This was immediately approved by local police.”
But Hundley said that no police came to protect Lev HaShem’s Shabbat services, even though his community had actually been targeted.
“We love that organization, and we love what they do,” Hundley said of the ADL. “We have no ill-will toward them. It’s just that sometimes, it’s hurtful, and I’m trying to express some of the feelings my congregants have expressed to me.”
After the Review-Journal contacted the ADL, a representative reached out to Hundley to add his congregation to the organization’s email list.
“It was nice that they reached out, but it would have been nice if they tried a little harder,” he said.
This is not the first time Messianic Jews has been subjected to anti-Semitism: A Denver “synagogue” was vandalized with swastika graffiti in April.