A synagogue in Beverly Hills was ransacked and its Torah scrolls desecrated last week capping off a year fraught with anti-Semitic attacks in the United States.
The Nessah Synagogue is the largest Persian-Jewish congregation in the United States. Nearly 20 percent of LA’s residents are believed to be of Iranian background.
Police are still searching for a suspect.
“This cowardly attack hits at the heart of who we are as a community,” Beverly Hills Mayor John Mirisch said.
Local residents were shaken up, especially those in the Jewish community, and security around the synagogue has been increased.
“What does it mean to be a Beverly Hills Jews in 2019?” Ted Fletcher wrote on social media. “It feels like a sin posting these photos. No, this is not Poland in 1930… this was taken yesterday in Beverly Hills, California.”
Meanwhile, an Israeli student living in New York was attacked by a woman who called her “a dirty Jew” and said it was a shame that more Jews were not killed in the recent attack on a kosher supermarket in New Jersey.
Lihi Aharon said the ruckus started when she asked a woman to remove her belongings from the subway seat so she could sit. The woman refused, so Aharon took another seat next to a Jewish man.
The woman then started cursing at the man, spitting and yelling “Allahu Akbar.” When Aharon started filming with her phone, the woman started attacking her, knocking the phone out of her hand and scratching her face in retaliation. Aharon pushed the emergency button and the police quickly arrived. Aharon said her scars are a mark of pride.
“Do not be afraid to step up and shut people up,” she said. “Do not be afraid to fight and return the fight.”
These two incidents follow several major attacks and threats on Jewish institutions in two past year and a half, including the Tree of Life synagogue shooting in October 2018, a shooting at a Southern California synagogue last April, a plot to blow up a Colorado synagogue and the shootout at the kosher supermarket in New Jersey.