“All hell has been let loose” said the chairman of Britain’s third oldest synagogue, as described how the shul was the subject of an alleged arson attack on Shabbat.
Richard Halsey, chair of Exeter Synagogue, said the shul’s vice-president had “called and said ‘the synagogue has been firebombed’. I said are you joking? You just don’t expect to hear that”.
The nearby bingo hall heard an explosion and staff members used a fire extinguisher to battle the flames before the fire brigade showed up.
Mr Halsey said the response from the local community had been “incredible”. Both the Bishop of Exeter and Exeter Mosque have offered their full support.
In an official statement, the synagogue thanked local police “for their brilliant initial response and the ongoing proactive and thorough investigation and support”.
Tristan Morgan, 51, of Alexandra Terrace, Exeter, appeared before Exeter Magistrates Court on Monday charged with arson with the intent of endangering life.
He will appear at Exeter Crown Court in August.
(This article first appeared in the Jewish Chronicle)