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Vandals smashed glass at several kosher restaurants in Los Angeles over Shabbat

The Pico-Robertson neighborhood has been struck by antisemitic incidents in the past year

A series of apparent break-ins at kosher establishments in Los Angeles on Shabbat left the Jewish community searching for answers. 

On Pico Boulevard, a street lined with Jewish institutions on the city’s Westside, at least five restaurants had their glass entrances smashed. 

The destruction, which was believed to have occurred early Saturday morning at around 5 a.m., rattled the largest Orthodox community on the West Coast. 

It appeared that five of the targeted businesses were kosher restaurants: Nagila Pizza, Shanghai Diamond Garden, Shalom Grill, Sushiko and Fisherman’s Bowl.

In a statement posted to Instagram, the Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles said that per “our law enforcement partners, there are no indications of antisemitic motivations.”

The Los Angeles Police Department confirmed that five burglaries had occurred and said that officers arrived to the scene at 5:27 a.m. No suspects were present in the area at the time, public information officer Rosario Cervantes said.  

Officers had responded late Friday afternoon to a burglary at a nonkosher restaurant about a half-mile away, on Robertson Boulevard. Cervantes said she did not have information as to whether that break-in was related to Saturday’s.

Ronit Feispor, who owns Sushiko, discovered the break-in at her restaurant while passing by on the way to prayer services Saturday morning. She said it was “at least” the tenth break-in since she opened Sushiko in the mid-2000s, and that law enforcement had never caught a culprit. Recently, she said, those break-ins have also targeted Shalom Grill, Sushiko’s next-door neighbor.

She said the burglars broke cabinets and tried to take money from the register. She estimated the total damages were “at least $6,000.”

“They knew we were closed for sure,” she said in a phone interview on Sunday.

At Nagila, one of the oldest kosher restaurants in the neighborhood, offices upstairs were also broken into.

The restaurant’s owner, Eran Nitka, said he wasn’t sure what the motive was.

He played a Jewish song over the restaurant loudspeaker, “Kol Haolam Kulo,” which concludes: Don’t be afraid. And he encouraged people who wanted to show their support to patronize the business.

These three kosher restaurants in Los Angeles were all hit on Aug. 19, 2023.
These three kosher restaurants in Los Angeles were all hit on Aug. 19, 2023. Photo by Louis Keene

Last year, a man tried to throw a stone the size of a cinder block through the shatter-proof glass of Young Israel of Century City, a synagogue about a block away from where the break-ins happened Saturday. When that failed, he used it to break a window at Pat’s Restaurant, a kosher steakhouse.

The strip of kosher restaurants in the Pico-Robertson neighborhood where the break-ins took place attracts many Orthodox tourists.

A series of brazen shopping mall robberies have taken place in the Los Angeles area in recent weeks, including a mob-style burglary at a Nordstrom store.

Earlier this year, two men were shot leaving prayer services in the neighborhood on consecutive mornings and sustained minor injuries. The suspect allegedly had a history of making antisemitic comments to dental school classmates.

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