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More anti-Semitic incidents reported even as community rallies against hate

LOS ANGELES, Aug. 16 (JTA) — Even as more than 1,000 people of all faiths and colors rallied here against hate crimes this week, a Hollywood synagogue was defaced with a swastika and threatening calls were placed to a Jewish center in Palo Alto, Calif. Attorney General Janet Reno and California Gov. Gray Davis were key speakers at Sunday’s Community Unity Rally, which honored the victims and rescue workers of last week’s shooting spree at the North Valley Jewish Community Center. “We will not rest until justice is done,” Reno pledged, referring to the Aug. 10 attacks in which five were wounded and a U.S. postal worker was killed. Buford O’Neal Furrow Jr., a white supremacist with neo-Nazi ties, has been charged in both crimes. In an earlier interview Sunday on CNN’s “Late Edition,” Reno said she wants gun buyers to take written and manual tests demonstrating that they know how to use guns safely and lawfully. Davis pledged at the rally to extend technical and financial aid to improve security at child care centers and houses of worship. The California governor signed laws last month restricting gun purchases and tightening a ban on assault weapons, and he has promised to support further “responsible” gun control measures. His talk was repeatedly interrupted by heckling from Irv Rubin, head of the Jewish Defense League. He and another man handed out leaflets, reading, “Don’t leave yourself unarmed against those who want to murder you. Gun control laws are only observed by decent people, and haters aren’t decent.” The family of Joseph Ileto, the Filipino American postal worker whom Furrow is accused of killing, attended the rally, during which doctors, nurses, police and firemen who aided the victims of the Granada Hills shooting were honored. The North Valley JCC, which was sprayed with 70 bullets in the attack, reopened its camp and preschool on Monday. The youngest and most seriously wounded victim of the rampage, 5-year old Benjamin Kadish, remains hospitalized in serious but stable condition. On Sunday, he was removed from a respirator and began breathing on his own for the first time since the shooting. The Los Angeles Jewish community found new cause for concern when worshipers arriving Saturday morning at Temple Knesset Israel in East Hollywood discovered that an outside wall had been spray-painted with a swastika and the words “Jews die.” In the temple’s mailbox, police found a confusing but apparently anti-British letter, saying that the British were going to start interning people. Temple President Harvey Shield is British and said that despite his earlier reluctance, he will hire a private security guard for the High Holidays. Members of the congregation, which has many Holocaust survivors or people who had relatives killed by the Nazis, reacted with horror and fear to the incident. Frances Miller, 61, said she broke into tears when she saw the swastika. “This could be a warning,” she said. In Palo Alto, south of San Francisco, police arrested Kevin Riley O’Keeffe, a security guard. He is being investigated in connection with three threatening phone calls on Friday to the Palo Alto Jewish Community Center, in which the caller praised the Granada Hills shooting. Other recent incidents of apparent anti-Semitic vandalism and violence include: * An arson that damaged Temple Beth Chai in Hauppage, N.Y., on Long Island on Sunday, which police are calling a hate crime; * An attack on two Jewish men, aged 79 and 56, who were knocked down and hit in the face outside a Toronto synagogue last Friday. As a result of the attack, extra security precautions went into effect at some synagogues in Toronto.