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September 30, 2016 / 27 Elul, 5776
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Mezuzah Arsonist Strikes Again, Evoking Familiar Jewish Fears

The message is “that we are unwanted here, and I don’t know why.”

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NYPD released surveillance footage of the suspect.



A day after 11 mezuzahs were found burned in the Taylor-Wythe Houses in Williamsburg, shortly after 1 PM Tuesday, another mezuzah was found burned outside an apartment at 130 Clymer St., in the same housing development.

In both incidents the vandal started on the 13th floor, but this time he fled after burning just one.

NYPD released surveillance footage of him as a person of interest was described as a male Hispanic between 20 and 25 years old, wearing a purple do-rag, and a black jacket with an “NY” symbol on the shoulder and “New York” across the chest,” and lighting a match.

Local resident David Greenblatt told NYC Channel 2 News that the surveillance images came as a relief.

“Yes it is, because it means that we’re going to pursue such crimes, and hopefully, that will deter them,” Greenblatt said. “That’s what we need.”

Resident Pessie Gelb said, “I was a little bit shocked to see what’s going on again. The next building? What is it going to happen again?”

Her neighbor Lydia Pena said, “I think it’s real horrible. You shouldn’t touch nothing that doesn’t belong to you.”

There was an even more insightful reaction, from resident Raizy Fogel, who told Channel 2: “It’s devastating, it’s very sad and such things shouldn’t happen.”

Fogel said the attack on a specifically Jewish religious item was intended to send a message on Holocaust Remembrance Day.

The message, Fogel said, is “that we are unwanted here, and I don’t know why.”

Give her another minute, another hour, another day – she’ll get the message…

Yori Yanover

About the Author: Yori Yanover has been a working journalist since age 17, before he enlisted and worked for Ba'Machane Nachal. Since then he has worked for Israel Shelanu, the US supplement of Yedioth, JCN18.com, USAJewish.com, Lubavitch News Service, Arutz 7 (as DJ on the high seas), and the Grand Street News. He has published Dancing and Crying, a colorful and intimate portrait of the last two years in the life of the late Lubavitch Rebbe, (in Hebrew), and two fun books in English: The Cabalist's Daughter: A Novel of Practical Messianic Redemption, and How Would God REALLY Vote.


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