Long Beach synagogue vandalized

Long Beach police are searching for a male suspect who threw a brick at the window of Temple Israel of Long Beach on Jan. 7. This was the second incident of vandalism at the Reform congregation, located at 269 Loma Ave., since the building reopened in October following a major renovation project.

“The reaction by staff was concern, frustration, that we had just moved back into a new building and this is the second incident of vandalism,” said Eric Shatzkin, executive director at Temple Israel. Shatzkin discovered the damage to the window while setting up for a staff meeting on the morning of Jan. 8.

Long Beach police have described the suspect as a “white male or Hispanic”; 20 to 30 years old; 5 feet 9 inches to 6 feet tall; wearing light-color cargo or basketball shorts; a long-sleeved, light-color jacket with a dark collar; a white T-shirt and dark-color sandals or shower shoes. The incident took place at approximately 11:30 p.m., police said.

Footage caught by the synagogue’s surveillance video shows the perpetrator approaching the synagogue from the street, throwing an object at the building, then running back toward the street. Long Beach police posted the video on their YouTube channel on Jan. 17.

The brick hit the eastern wall — the synagogue’s front entrance — causing a spider-web break to a first-floor, double-pane window that has an additional anti-graffiti protective film, Shatzkin said. The brick did not make it through the glass to the interior.

An alarm did not go off since there was not any damage to the interior, he said.

In November, another act of vandalism involved anti-Semitic graffiti—a swastika painted on Temple Israel’s exterior—and was not caught on video.

In addition to notifying police about this latest incident, the congregation contacted the Anti-Defamation League of Orange County/Long Beach and sent out an email update to its congregants.

Shatzkin believes that the two incidents could be the work of the same vandal.

“[We’re] hoping this doesn’t become an ongoing concern,” he said. “Hopefully it’s one perpetrator that they are able to catch now that they have one video.”

Anyone with information is urged to call Long Beach Police Department Detective Jackie Bezart at (562) 570-7250.

Watch Temple Israel's Jan. 7 surveillance video below: