A local Santa Monica synagogue entrance was smeared with feces and food in an apparent anti-Semitic attack on the first night of Hanukkah/Chanukah on Saturday night.
On Sunday morning, congregants arriving for prayers at the Living Torah Center, a synagogue affiliated with the Orthodox Chabad movement, were horror stricken to find the vandalism. One Rabbi had tried to clean it, as best he could.
A window, facing Wilshire Boulevard, had some feces remaining lodged in the upper corner.
Rabbi Boruch Rabinowitz said that the attack was not random. A report was called in by assistant Rabbi Dovid Tenenbaum, who serves as a chaplain with the local police department.
Jewish law dictates that the Chanukah menorah be placed in a window facing the outside world in order to publicize the holiday. The menorah lit in the window may have attracted additional attention to the synagogue.
The “Festival of Lights” is a beautiful story and celebrates the successful Jewish revolt against Seleucid rule in Israel in 165 B.C., and the discovery of oil in the Holy Temple that was only sufficient for one day but burned, miraculously, for eight instead.
The disrespectful attack on the synagogue was unfortunately the second anti-Semitic incident there in recent weeks. In November, a black man burst into services and gave the Hitler salute and shouted “Heil Hitler,” and made a machine-gun motion with his hands before fleeing on foot.
A predominantly liberal, Democratic city, Santa Monica is surrounded on three sides by Los Angeles. It takes pride in an image of tolerance.