By COLlive Reporter
Shliach Rabbi Anchelle Perl, Rabbi of Congregation Beth Shalom Chabad in Mineola got a call Friday morning that someone had sprayed two large, bright orange swastikas on the synagogue’s front doors.
“As soon as I came and saw it was a swastika, I realized this was a bias crime,” said Perl, leader of the congregation for the past 20 years.
Perl called the police, who he said responded swiftly. And he got a visit from Nassau Police Commissioner Lawrence Mulvey.
He said he also received supportive calls from state Sen. Craig Johnson and Mineola Mayor Jack Martins.
Support was also strong from the community, says Perl.
“After the shock, the Shul’s congregants really came together,” said Perl. “We all gathered on Shabbos afternoon for a kiddush in honor of the 12th of Tammuz,” referring to the day when Chabad celebrates the Previous Lubavitcher Rebbe’s release from Soviet prison.
“One long-time congregant spoke about how the shul, here for so many years, has never had such an incident. But we must stand together, as a united community, and remain strong.”
The uplifting gathering was marred by law enforcement officials informing them that more damage was done during the night.
“Sadly, the police found many more cars in the neighborhood had been similarly vandalized, with swastikas and other hateful symbols,” said Perl.
Ironically, the shul had only recently finished raising funds for a security system, and the cameras and equipment are scheduled to be installed Monday. Perl says that with the new system the vandals might have been apprehended.
Perl said the congregation draws strength from the message of the 12th of Tammuz: “The day stands for the Frierdiker Rebbe’s strength, standing against oppression even in the darkest conditions.
“From the Rebbe’s imprisonement and release we learn that a Jew can be down below in the depths, but if aspirations are high, then we can get through anything.”