Long Beach police are investigating as a hate crime the vandalizing of Temple Israel, said to be the oldest Reform synagogue between Los Angeles and San Diego.
Long Beach Police Department was investigating Wednesday the vandalism of the Temple Israel building, which was painted with two-foot high swastikas and red spray-painted “Nazi” words.
Officers were called to a report of vandalism at the building, located in the 3500 block of E. 3rd Street, at about 10:30 p.m. Monday, Long Beach Police Department spokeswoman Nancy Pratt said Wednesday afternoon.
“Officers arrived and discovered that a wall had been defaced with an offensive symbol and word that had been spray painted on the building,” Pratt wrote in an e-mail. “It was discovered when someone walking by saw it and called police.” The vandalism is under probe as a potential hate crime.
Pratt said all other Jewish Temples in the city were checked and no other vandalism was found. By Tuesday morning the vandalism was removed. Police asked that anyone with information regarding this incident should contact the Violent Crimes Detail at (562) 570-7250. Tips may be made anonymously by calling 1 (800) 222-TIPS, texting TIPLA plus your tip to CRIMES, or visitingwww.lacrimestoppers.org
The Jewish Telegraphic Agency called it the largest Reform synagogue between Los Angeles and San Diego. JTA reported the swastikas and the words “Nazi” were painted on the front of the Temple Israel building.
From Temple Israel’s Facebook Page, apparently posted Tuesday:
Last night around 9:00 p.m., someone painted a swastika on the outside wall of our synagogue. The Long Beach Police responded in a timely manner and contacted both Eric Shatzkin and Rabbi Moskowitz. This morning, after the police had concluded their on-site investigation, the graffiti was quickly cleaned off the wall.
“While it is sad that such acts occur, we were very heartened by the many expressions of support by our neighbors and friends this morning and throughout the day. We also received this morning an email of support from our friends at the California Conference for Equality and Justice (CCEJ). We know that the voices of justice and love are far greater and stronger than those of hate and division, and we are proud to bear the prophetic words on the top of our building which unite us all in one human family:
“‘My house shall be a house of prayer for all people.’
Amy Lipeles, President
Rabbi Steven Moskowitz
Eric Shatzkin, Executive Director”
Among the many responses was this from the South Coast interfaith Council:
“As an interfaith council, we pride ourselves in creating communities of compassion among people of diverse faiths and cultures. We, the South Coast Interfaith Council (SCIC), firmly and unequivocally condemn all forms of violence against any and all faith communities and houses of worship.”
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