A day after hundreds of people crowded into an auditorium at the Kings Bay Y in Brooklyn last week to unite against hate, 11 cars on the streets of nearby Midwood were painted with swastikas.
The Sabbath vandalism was the latest in a series of hate crimes in southern Brooklyn that has kept detectives busy and concerned elected officials and civic leaders.
But the spree has also produced a united front against bigotry from ethnic communities that peacefully coexist in the area.
A vandal painted a two-foot high, black swastika on the outside of Shaare Tzedek, a Conservative congregation on the Upper West Side last weekend.
The police department’s Bias Crime Unit was investigating the incident, according to the shul and the Anti-Defamation League.
The vandalism was noticed around 12:30 p.m. Sunday, and took place sometime after the building closed at around 5:30 p.m. Saturday night.
“People are always shocked when this kind of thing happens, and kind of scared,” said Lolita Pogrebitskaya, the shul’s office manager.
Vandals painted anti-Semitic graffiti on the side of a yeshiva and a Hatzolah ambulance in Belle Harbor, Queens, last weekend. The words “Heil Hitler” were discovered Saturday morning on the side of the Merkaz Hatorah yeshiva on Beach 129th Street, and a swastika and “death to the Jews” was discovered on the ambulance later that day.
“The irony and ugliness of such graffiti on a volunteer ambulance is stunning,” said Joel Levy, New York regional director of the Anti-Defamation League.
Authorities say it was vandalism and not anti-Semitism that led three teens to allegedly set fire to the permanent walls of a sukkah in the rear of a Washington Heights synagogue, but the congregation’s president would like to hear an apology from the youths.
“I don’t know how to read the motivation of these boys,” said Erich Erlbach of Congregation K’hal Adath Jeshurun, at 85-93 Bennett Ave., which is also known as the Breuer Shul. “People were concerned. Many feel it’s a bias crime, others don’t.”
Khaled J., leaning against a wall in the gloomy light of the Bronx County Courthouse, says he has nothing against Jews.
ìI used to work for Jews, at Main Event,î a kosher pizza place in Riverdale. ìI made your falafel, your kosher pizza. We never had trouble. That was before.î Before this war started in the fall of 2000. ìMy nephew, heís on trial for who he is.î