By Lori Samlin Miller – Chabad.org
Chabad of East Boca Raton made headlines recently, and not just because of its recent communal event, which doubled as a fundraising and awareness campaign—fundraising because the center is looking to expand, and awareness boosted in part because of an unfortunate incident that occurred a few days beforehand.
On the morning of March 18, acts of vandalism were reported in the neighborhood surrounding the Chabad center in Southeast Florida, co-directed by Rabbi Ruvi and Ahuva New. The rabbi’s concrete parking slab was hurled through a glass window of the center; nearby, lawns and mailboxes were damaged. Boca Raton police reported numerous incidents following St. Patrick’s Day celebrations and reported there was nothing to indicate this was a hate crime.
The isolated incident was not at all common in the area, where Jewish life and religious observance have flourished over the past several decades.
As for the rabbi’s response to the offense: “We will only get stronger from it.”
In fact, just two days later, their scheduled mega community event—which included a reception and concert featuring recording artist and musical entertainer Yaakov Shwekey—was well-received by community members anxious to show their support.
The concert, titled “The Land We Love, The Lives We Honor,” accompanied a reception that recognized the contributions of several notable honorees. One of them was Israeli Maj. Moshe Levy, who received the Medal of Valor for his actions in the 1973 Yom Kippur War; he lost his right hand after charging an Egyptian commando post to rescue Jewish soldiers.
“We had more than 1,000 people in attendance,” said New. “The event was, thank G?d, a great success. There was lot of press about the incident and a lot of support from people in the community who wanted to show their solidarity, especially after what happened earlier in the week. The tremendous crowd that came out to support us was a powerful response to the vandalism.”