Police are searching for a man after he allegedly vandalized a Beverly Hills Synagogue early Saturday morning.
The man allegedly broke into the Nessah Synagogue where he overturned furniture, damaged relics and ransacked the inside. The synagogue's main scrolls were not damaged during the vandalism, according to police. Police do not believe anything was stolen during the incident.
Police said they are investigating the vandalism as a hate crime.
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"Although police are investigating the crime as a hate crime, the
suspect left no markings or other overt signs of anti-Semitism," Beverly Hills Police Lt. Elisabeth Albanese said.
Police are searching for a man who is 20 to 25 years-old, thin, with short dark curly hair and possibly wearing glasses.
“This cowardly attack hits at the heart of who we are as a community,” said Mayor John Mirisch. “It is not just an attack on the Jewish Community of Beverly Hills; it’s an attack on all of us. The entire City stands in solidarity behind Nessah, its members and congregants. We are committed to catching the criminal who desecrated a holy place on Shabbat of all days and bringing him to justice."
The synagogue is scheduled to reopen Sunday, according to police.
Congregation members reacted on social media. Leeor Ely posted on Facebook: "I am BEYOND outraged and sick to my stomach right now. My local synagogue, the synagogue I was raised in where I celebrated all of the biggest moments in my life, the synagogue my late grandfather helped create, Nessah Synagogue, was the victim of a disgusting hate crime and vandalized last night," Ely said.
According to its web site, Nessah Synagogue was founded by Rabbi David Shofet "and the Iranian Jews of Los Angeles and Beverly Hills," and "upholds the traditions and customs of Iranian Jews according to Orthodox, Sephardic Halacha."
The Israeli-American Civic Action Network called on local leaders, elected officials, law enforcement and members of the Persian Jewish, Israeli- American, Russian Jewish and American Jewish communities to stand together to fight what they called a rising tide of anti-Semitism.
"Enough is enough, from the East Coast to the West Coast, Jewish
communities are under attack," said Vered Nisim, ICAN California chairwoman.
"Just a few days ago Jews were killed in Jersey City, and now today this vandalism. How many Jews have to die and how many synagogues have to be destroyed before serious action is taken?''
Anyone who has information about this crime or the identity of the suspect is encouraged to call the Beverly Hills Police Department at (310) 285-2125 or submit an anonymous tip by texting "BEVHILLSPD" followed by the tip information to 888777.