Santa Monica synagogue vandalized with feces near menorah

Posted at 6:33 AM, Dec 26, 2016
and last updated 2016-12-26 09:40:51-05
SANTA MONICA (CNS) - The Living Torah Center Chabad in Santa Monica was vandalized sometime early this morning or late Saturday night by someone who smeared feces and rice on the front window near a menorah display, according to authorities and officials at the synagogue.
The discovery of the vandalism at 1130 Wilshire Boulevard was made by Rabbi Boruch Rabinowitz when he arrived early Sunday morning on the first day of Hanukkah.
The vandalism did not include any anti-Semitic messages, but officials at the Living Torah Center Chabad on Wilshire Boulevard told the Los Angeles Times they suspect the building was targeted for religious reasons.
"This seems kind of intentional," Assistant Rabbi Dovid Tenenbaum told The Times. "With a religious artifact in the window, we have to assume so."
Santa Monica police officers came to the location and took a report, but no witnesses have come forward.
"We received a call about the vandalism shortly before 9 a.m. A report was taken and it will be investigated," Santa Monica police Sgt. Erica Aklufi told City News Service. "Right now we are not classifying it as a hate crime,
just as vandalism."
Aklufi also said police have no suspects at this point and have not yet been able to pinpoint the time the vandalism was committed.
Tenenbaum said the synagogue will soon install video cameras.
The congregation is accustomed to occasional anti-Semitism, Tenenbaum told the newspaper.  During a service about a month ago, Tenenbaum said, a man stood up and shouted "Heil, Hitler," positioning his arms as if shooting a rifle. He ran away before anyone could catch him.  About a year ago, a letter left in the synagogue's mailbox contained a swastika and a message: "Get out of here, you Jews."
The night before, the congregation had celebrated the start of Hanukkah with menorah lighting, latkes and doughnuts at Rabinowitz's house. Rabinowitz arrived at the synagogue a little before 8 a.m. on Sunday morning to prepare for a service and found the noxious substances on the window.