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Manhattan Day School Vandalized; $1-2,000 in Damages, Stolen Property

Unknown persons vandalized the Manhattan Day School last night, smashing walls with fire axes and hammers, breaking doorknobs, desks and locks, stealing papers, chemicals and pens, and escaping with a microphone, a loudspeaker and a $400-500 IBM electric typewriter. Rabbi Sholom Rephun, head of the yeshiva, told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency that the time of the incident was determined by the times on the two clocks that were smashed by the vandals. One clock had been stopped at 9:45 p.m., the other at 11:30 p.m. The block-square school, at Manhattan Ave. and 104th St. near Central Par, has been the victim of “12 or 14″ less-serious incidents since he arrived there in 1964, Rabbi Rephun said. Last night’s vandalism, he said, amounted to $1-2,000 in damaged and stolen property. The sum does not include the walls, he explained, because the building is due to be razed for a low-income housing project. A sign outside the school indicates that its students will be moving from the site. The 28-year-old yeshiva will be relocated around next spring at Riverside Dr. and 75th St.

Three gaping holes, around three feet square each, were found in the school’s walls and doors. One of them was in a wall eight inches thick. The night janitor reported to Rabbi Rephun that he had heard nothing. Rabbi Rephun said the school’s neighborhood was largely black and Puerto Rican, with a “very negligible” number of Jews. But he said there were no racial or religious tensions in the area. The only dissension he could recall involved the school’s refusal to allow a community association to use the building at night without posting bond. But Rabbi Rephun declined to accuse the association or any of its members of last night’s incident. He was, however, critical of the Police Dept. Although the yeshiva has been “on very good terms the police,” he said, there has been “a certain amount of apathy” on their part and no “adequate protection,” he told the JTA. Asked how the damages would affect the Manhattan Day School’s teaching of its 300 pupils, Rabbi Rephun said: “We have no funds, really. We’ve been struggling to manage. We’ll have to do the best we can.”

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