Beverly Hills Synagogue Vandalized, Torah Scrolls Destroyed on Shabbat

Police are investigating the incident as a hate crime and say the suspect left no 'markings or other overt signs of anti-Semitism'

JTA
Ben Sales
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A surveillance video shows a suspect in the vandalism of the Nessah Synagogue, December 14, 2019.
A surveillance video shows a suspect in the vandalism of the Nessah Synagogue, December 14, 2019.Credit: Emma Nica,AP
JTA
Ben Sales

A synagogue in Beverly Hills was vandalized in what police are investigating as a hate crime.

At approximately 2 A.M. Saturday, according to a statement from the Beverly Hills Police Department, a suspect described as a white male entered the Nessah Synagogue, a Persian Jewish congregation, and vandalized the sanctuary.

Photos of the damage posted to Twitter show a Torah scroll unrolled, crumpled and torn at the seams, as well as broken glass and a torn page from a prayerbook. The police statement said the vandal “moved throughout the sanctuary, heavily ransacking the interior.” The statement said the vandal overturned furniture and caused very limited structural damage.

No one was in the synagogue at the time. The police statement said the suspect left no “markings or other overt signs of anti-Semitism.”

“This cowardly attack hits at the heart of who we are as a community,” said Beverly Hills Mayor John Mirisch, according to the police statement. “It is not just an attack on the Jewish community of Beverly Hills; it’s an attack on all of us.”

The vandalism comes days after four people died in a shooting attack on Tuesday centered on a kosher supermarket in Jersey City, New Jersey.

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