SANTA MONICA, California (JTA) – Police are investigating a vandalism attack on a Chabad center in Santa Monica.
Unknown persons smeared feces and rice on the window of the Living Torah Center on Wilshire Blvd., either late Saturday night or early Sunday, the first day of Hanukkah.
Rabbi Boruch Rabinowitz discovered the defacement when he opened the center at about 8 a.m. Sunday, according to media reports.
A large Hanukkah menorah stands behind the Center’s glass-walled street front.
“This seems kind of intentional,” the center’s assistant rabbi, Dovid Tenenbaum, told the Los Angeles Times. “With a religious artifact in the window, we have to assume so.”
The Living Torah Center posted a message on its website thanking the public for “the outpouring of love and support from people of every background.” It said that “in the spirit of the holiday” the Center would “move forward and continue to spread light and love and not let this incident diminish our resolve to bring goodness to the world.”
According to the Times, it was not the first episode of apparent anti-Semitism at the Center. It reported that the Center had received a threatening letter about a year ago, and graffiti was found scrawled on the Center’s sukkah. The Times quoted Tenenbaum as saying that during services about a month ago “a man stood up and shouted ‘Heil, Hitler,’ positioning his arms as if shooting a rifle. He ran away before anyone could catch him.”