Man caught on camera trying to throw concrete block through Century City synagogue windows

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Sunday, May 30, 2021
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Police are investigating a new act of suspected anti-Semitism at a Century City synagogue.

CENTURY CITY, LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- Police are investigating a new act of suspected anti-Semitism at a Century City synagogue, where surveillance video captured a man trying to throw a block of concrete through two windows.

Southland Jewish leaders condemned the vandalism attempt that occurred early Friday morning.

The windows of Young Israel of Century City are made of reinforced glass, and the concrete bounced away without causing significant damage. But the attempt -- on the heels of other high-profile anti-Semitic attacks of Jewish people in Southern California -- drew the ire of local leaders.

"In my 35 years as rabbi of this beautiful synagogue, I have never, ever experienced such an act perpetrated against our house of God,'' said Rabbi Elazar Muskin of Young Israel of Century City, located at 9317 W. Pico Blvd.

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"I've never seen such hate, public manifestation of antisemitism and hatred in the streets of our city as we're seeing today,'' Muskin added. "This will not deter anyone from attending this synagogue and our mission of being an Orthodox Jewish house of worship in Los Angeles. We take our mission very seriously, and we will not be frightened by any act by anyone.''

The attempted vandalism occurred at about 1 a.m. Friday. Synagogue officials said the man first broke a window at a nearby restaurant called Pat's Next Door, then tried to do the same to the synagogue.

"The first time he attempted to ... break the window, it actually ricocheted because ... it's a very strong shatterproof glass,'' said Steven Silver, a synagogue security official. And you could see he was surprised it actually didn't go through. And he picked it up again, threw it at the next window, it ricocheted again, and then he decided to leave.''

The incident comes about two weeks after a pair of highly publicized attacks that were caught on video, showing assailants in caravans of vehicles waving Palestinian flags. In one case, the assailants tried to run over an Orthodox Jewish man who fled on foot and escaped injury. In the other, a group of diners at a Beverly Grove restaurant were attacked.

"Our president, our Congress, our Senate have to pay attention to it -- that a person has nothing better to do, 1:30 in the morning, a beautiful synagogue like this, he wants to attack it,'' said Rabbi Marvin Hier of the Simon Wiesenthal Center.

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"America is the place where all the antisemites and all the perpetrators now live. What a great tragedy,'' he said.

Cooper said it's "a time of great concern for Jewish communities the world over.''

City News Service contributed to this report.