Vandals burn mezuzahs in Brooklyn building
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Vandals burn mezuzahs in Brooklyn building

Police investigating whether act was fueled by anti-Semitism

A burnt mezuzah in a building in the Brooklyn, NY neighborhood of Williamsburg on Monday April 9, 2013 (screen capture: WNBC - Channel 4, New York).
A burnt mezuzah in a building in the Brooklyn, NY neighborhood of Williamsburg on Monday April 9, 2013 (screen capture: WNBC - Channel 4, New York).

The mezuzahs on the doorposts of 11 apartments in a Jewish neighborhood in Brooklyn, New York, were vandalized on Monday in what police are treating as a possible hate crime.

A mezuzah is a parchment with specific verses from the Torah, usually enclosed in a decorative case. A biblical commandment instructs Jews to affix mezuzahs to the doorposts of their home.

The damage was discovered at approximately 4:30 p.m. on Monday at various apartments between the third and twelfth floors of the Taylor-Wythe building in a section of Williamsburg that is home to a large Jewish population. Many of the building’s residents are Orthodox Jews.

Some of the building’s Jewish residents spoke of past tensions with afro-American and Hispanic residents in the building, WNBC reported. However, the report said, residents mostly did get along, and many of the non-Jewish residents said they hoped to see the perpetrators apprehended.

Public Advocate Bill de Blasio, who is a candidate in November’s mayoral elections in New York City, called the vandalism a “sickening act of prejudice that strikes at the very core of who we are as a city.”

Brooklyn City Councilman Stephen Levin told WINS news radio that the vandalism was “disgusting” and that it “cannot be tolerated.”

“For something like this to happen, it really strikes deep in terms of its hurtfulness and the malice that’s involved,” said Levin.

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