Breaking news

October 27, 2019

Man sentenced in Minnesota synagogue arson

Source: kyma
The sentence is in for the man responsible for starting a fire that destroyed the Adas Israel Synagogue in Duluth last month.

Beyond the building, that fire also destroyed thousands of dollars worth of historic and religious artifacts and some congregation members fear his sentencing isn’t strict enough.

“It will be the most intense monitoring experience you’ve ever had in your life,” Judge Shaun Floerke said to 36–year–old Matthew James Amiot

Amiot has been sentenced to four years probation, 192 hours community service, $66 thousand out of pocket fees and a 90–day period behind bars for one count of starting a negligent fire. The fire resulted in the loss of Northern Minnesota’s oldest Orthodox synagogue.

“I feel we have to just wait and see. I’m still not satisfied,” congregation co-vice president Sam Pomush said.


The day in court included a back and forth discussion between members of the Adas Israel Congregation and the defense attorney about whether Amiot deserved jail time or not.

This after a letter read on behalf of congregation president, Rabbi Phillip Sher asked that Amiot be confined either by jail or treatment facility since he “poses a threat to society and himself.”

Amiot nodded in agreement to the sentence Judge Floerke gave him.

The sentencing was more than a way to determine Matthew Amiot’s future. It was a way for the congregation to move forward.

“We don’t want to go back there, we want to go some other place, but we want to be in an area where everybody can come to us,” Pomush said.

Now with sentencing done, the big question is what’s next for the Adas Israel Congregation? And where will they go?

“We’ll move forward. We will move forward. I can’t tell you how we’re going to move forward right now because we really don’t know, but we’re going to move forward,” Pomush said.

Amiot will be back in court in December for review sentencing. In the meantime, he is waiting for diagnostic results to determine if he’s eligible for drug or mental health court and corresponding treatment.