NEW YORK (Oct. 19)
The president of the Brooklyn Board of Rabbis appealed today to Catholic and Protestant clergymen to join him in condemning vandalism against houses of worship after a Coney Island synagogue was found desecrated last week. Rabbi Kurt Klappholz made his appeal after Morris Glassman, president of Congregation Chevra Bikur Cholcm, reported that the synagogue had been ruined.
Rabbi Mendel Epstein said that he and a member of the congregation, which has thirty regular worshippers, most of them elderly, found the vandalism when they arrived Friday morning for services. It was the second time that the synagogue had been vandalized in a month. Damage was estimated in the thousands of dollars.
Angry congregation members, asserting that abandoned homes in the neighborhood are hiding places for drug addicts, muggers and vandals, demanded that the three mayoral candidates visit the synagogue. Rabbi Epstein said “we found prayer books thrown all over the place, and human excrement smear in the aisles. ” He added that the Torah Scroll and the Ark in the sanctuary had been left un touched. Police said they were looking for a gang of six Negro and Puerto Rican youths suspected of the vandalism. A patrolman was placed on guard at the house of worship.