Thursday's explosion at the Chabad House Lubavitch of Santa Monica probably was not a terrorist or anti-Semitic act, Anti-Defamation League Regional Director Amanda Susskind speculated to Santa Monica Patch on Saturday morning.
"[The incident] seems more in the nature of a disturbed individual," she said.
On Friday afternoon, the confirmed the blast was caused by an explosive device. Following the incident in which no one was injured, police initially said an explosive device had been responsible. They later attributed the blast to "mechanical failure."
At 10 a.m. Saturday, Sgt. Jay Trisler told Santa Monica Patch that no new information had come to light since Friday night, when he announced that a police investigation had linked the explosive device to transient Ron Hirsch. According to police, Hirsch is known to frequent synagogues and Jewish Community Centers in search of charity from patrons.
Mirel Levitansky, who works at the Chabad House and is the wife of co-Rabbi Eli Levitansky, told Santa Monica Patch on Friday that Hirsch had stopped by the synagogue "over the years."
After police issued an alert indicating Hirsch is "extremely dangerous," the ADL sent an alert of its own to hundreds of Jewish institutions in the Los Angeles area. Susskind said the reason for doing so was three-fold: to share information, to gather intelligence and to ensure the security of Jewish institutions.
"If he's out there and has nefarious goals, we wanted people to be extra vigilant and careful," she said.
Susskind also said she hadn't heard of Hirsch being seen at synagogues or community centers on Friday night, when Shabbat services were held. She added that "if there had been another incident, we would've heard about it."
During Shabbat, observant Jews are not allowed to use the telephone. But an exception was made Friday night, according to Susskind.
"We had indicated that this was worthy of breaking the rule," she said. "If anybody did see [Hirsch], we instructed them to call law enforcement directly."
Hirsch, who also goes by the name Israel Fisher, has also frequented Bais Yehuda, a congregation located in Los Angeles.
Susskind said she doesn't know if Hirsch is Jewish.
Levitansky said she didn't interact with Hirsch when he visited the Chabad House.
"He makes his rounds, looking for handouts, for money," she said. "He hasn't caused any trouble [in the past]. He needs a little bit of help."
Hirsch is 60 years old and has brown hair and green eyes. He is 5' 7" and weighs 207 pounds. Those with information about him are asked to call SMPD Det. Derek Leone at (310) 458-8949.
Meanwhile, the Greater Los Angeles Area office of the Council on American-Islamic Relations condemned the bombing, according to City News Service.
"Targeting individuals and houses of worship because of religion is abhorrent, and we stand in solidarity with the Jewish community against these disturbing attacks," CAIR-LA Executive Director Hussam Ayloush said.
The motive behind the blast is not yet known.
This article was updated on Saturday at 7 p.m.
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