Vandals Hit Santa Monica Synagogue On Christmas Day

SANTA MONICA (CBSLA.com) – A Santa Monica synagogue was found vandalized Sunday morning.

Rabbis discovered the defacement to the front entrance of the Living Torah Center, located at 1130 Wilshire Blvd.

“I walked outside and I saw on this part of the window, feces thrown and smeared around,” Rabbi Boruch Rabinowitz told CBS2.

The vandals did not write anything on the property. Santa Monica police, who are investigating, said that, at this time, this cannot be categorized as a hate crime.

This isn’t the first time this synagogue has been targeted. Last month, a man interrupted services with a Hitler salute. About a year ago, a threatening note was dropped off in the mailbox. There have also been some threatening voicemail messages.

“A little paper of swastika left in the mailbox, some phone calls with hate voices, or hate messages, some graffiti,” Rabbi Dovid Tenenbaum said.

The incident was not caught on surveillance cameras and no suspects were identified. No other surrounding stores or businesses were vandalized.

“It’s not nice to do, not just to our synagogue, but any religious institution out there,” Tenenbaum said.

On Saturday night, the congregation had celebrated the start of Hanukkah with menorah lighting, latkes and doughnuts at Rabinowitz’s house. Rabinowitz arrived at the synagogue a little before 8 a.m. Sunday to prepare for a service and found the noxious substances on the window.

Piran Zarifian, the owner of nearby BAO Foot Spa, says similar vandalism occurred to his business recently.

“A couple months ago, I came to work and there was feces on the ground, a lot of it actually… I’m Jewish myself, so I really hope it’s not a targeted thing to Jewish people, but I honestly don’t know,” Zarifian said.

With several more nights of Hanukah to come, police said they will be increasing patrols in this area.

(©2016 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Wire services contributed to this report.)

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