Orthodox Jewish teen shot in head in Baltimore

The boy is in critical condition; sources say the victim may have known his assailant.

By Batya Jerenberg, World Israel News

An ultra-Orthodox teenager is in critical condition after being shot in the head Sunday night in Baltimore, Maryland.

Multiple sources told Yeshiva World News that it was not a random attack and that it seems that the 17-year-old, named Elazar, knew his assailant.

The city’s Hatzolah paramedics came quickly after the attack, which occurred around 8:30 pm, and evacuated the young man to the hospital. The police are currently looking for the shooter and have asked for anyone with information on the incident to contact them. The motive for the attack is still unclear at this time.

Seven months ago, a different shooting in the city of a religious Jew took a deadly turn. An 18-year-old and two minors allegedly shot and killed 31-year-old Israeli Efraim Gordon in front of his relatives’ house after following him to the door. The family insists that their motive was Jew-hatred.

“It was not a robbery that went wrong, but a murder based on antisemitism,” Gordon’s sister told Arutz 7 at the time. The house is in a Jewish neighborhood, she said, and her brother “wore a kippah and had a beard. Three people ambushed him as he returned home. They didn’t take any money – they just shot him in the stomach and fled.”

The trio was caught just a few weeks later and charged with first-degree murder, but not with committing a hate crime.

In a clearly antisemitic incident in July, a man allegedly painted swastikas on four light poles in the city. The alleged perpetrator was apprehended quickly, and neighborhood residents painted heart-shaped rainbows over the hate signs.

A week later, a person or persons unknown painted swastikas on 13 headstones in Baltimore’s Jewish cemetery. This led to an interfaith gathering, where Moslem, Christian, Black and Jewish organizational representatives spoke of their solidarity in the face of any kind of hatred.

“An attack on one faith community is an attack on all faith communities,” said Zainab Chaudry, the Maryland director for the Council on American–Islamic Relations. “This transcends politics. It speaks to the core of our shared humanity.”

Although antisemitism is on the rise all over the United States, according to the Anti-Defamation League, 2020 saw the highest number of incidents ever recorded in the Maryland-Virginia-Washington, DC region. In Maryland alone, there was a 135% increase in the collective cases of vandalism, harassment and assaults.