Chicago man charged with hate crime for threatening to burn rabbi in an oven

Jay Bollyn, a convicted felon, also lunged at the rabbi, goose-stepped in front of a religious girls’ school and called himself a Nazi.

By Batya Jerenberg, World Israel News

A man has been charged with hate crimes for threatening a rabbi at a religious Jewish girls’ school in Chicago last Sunday, goose-stepping and yelling antisemitic epithets.

Jay Bollyn, 69, who is white, stayed outside the fence surrounding the Bais Yaakov High School of Chicago on Sunday morning as parents entered and exited during parent-teacher conferences.

After asking one person if he was Jewish and making antisemitic comments, school personnel asked a rabbi to intervene.

The rabbi, who is head of security for several Jewish schools, went over to the group and was confronted by Bollyn, who allegedly threatened to “burn” him “in a gas oven.”

The witnesses say Bollyn then lunged at them though the fence, but the rabbi managed to evade the attack. Bollyn then began goose-stepping, calling out “Heil Hitler,” and declared himself a Nazi.

The police, who had arrived in the meantime, allegedly witnessed his marching around and took him into custody.

Prosecutors charged Bollyn Tuesday with two counts of felony hate crimes and two misdemeanors.

At the bail hearing, prosecutors said that Bollyn was already on probation for having called 911 with a false alarm.  In addition, he has eight previous convictions, five of them in 2022, for aggravated assault, theft, criminal damage to property and public indecency.

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While Bollyn’s lawyer noted that his client hadn’t hurt anyone and that the only one who heard his alleged rant was the complainant, the court took Bollyn’s alleged actions seriously.

“I find that Mr. Bollyn is a significant threat to anyone in that community and at that location, including children who were in school that day,” said Cook County Judge Susana Ortiz.

She set his bail at $10,000, with an additional order to put an electronic bracelet on Bollyn so that his movements could be tracked.

Bollyn is due back in court for his next hearing on Wednesday.

So far in 2022, the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) has tracked 21 antisemitic incidents in Chicago and seven cases of the distribution of white supremacist propaganda.

The number of antisemitic incidents in the United States is at a historic high, with the ADL’s audit for 2021 revealing a total of 2,717 incidents. This is a 34% increase over 2020.