Police Investigate Vandalism of Synagogue in California

In this photo taken on Wednesday, Jan. 28, 2015, Jose Oulman Bensaude Carp, President of the Jewish community in Lisbon, waits to be interviewed by The Associated Press at the main Jewish synagogue in Lisbon. Portugal is following Spain and granting citizenship rights to the descendants of Jews it persecuted …
AP/Francisco Seco

BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. (AP) — Beverly Hills police are investigating the vandalism of a synagogue Saturday after an employee arrived at the place of worship to discover an open door, overturned furniture and damage to several relics.

Police said in a statement that they are investigating the incident at the Nessah Synagogue as a hate crime. But police added there is no evidence to suggest that the attack was anti-Semitic in nature. The synagogue’s main scrolls were undamaged.

A place of worship for the Persian Jewish community in Southern California, the synagogue was founded by David Shofet, who immigrated to the United States in 1980 from Tehran in the aftermath of the Iranian Revolution.

Members who arrived Saturday morning for Shabbat found papers and fliers from the lobby strewn across the front of the property.

Police described the suspect as a white male, 20 to 25 years of age, with short dark curly hair, a thin build and possibly wearing prescription glasses, shorts and low-top shoes. He carried a backpack and pulled a rolling suitcase.

“This cowardly attack hits at the heart of who we are as a community,” Mayor John Mirisch said in a statement. “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.”

The attack comes at a time of heightened sensitivity about anti-Semitic violence. On Tuesday, two shooters attacked a cemetery and a Jewish grocery store in Jersey City, New Jersey, leaving six dead.


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