SANTA MONICA, Calif. (JTA) – A Chabad center in the Southern California city of Santa Monica was vandalized on the first day of Hanukkah.
Feces and rice were smeared on the window of the Living Torah Center on Wilshire Boulevard either late Saturday night or early Sunday, according to media reports. Rabbi Boruch Rabinowitz discovered the defacement when he opened the center at about 8 a.m. Sunday.
Police are investigating; there are no suspects.
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.”
It was not the first episode of apparent anti-Semitism at the center, the newspaper reported. According to the Times, 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.”