Vandalism strikes Iranian synagogue in Beverly Hills, police investigating

Police said they are investigating the incident as a hate crime but found "no overt signs of antisemitism."

Nessah Synagogue, Beverly Hills, California. Photo dated 2015. (photo credit: © GLENN FRANCIS / WWW.PACIFICPRODIGITAL.COM)
Nessah Synagogue, Beverly Hills, California. Photo dated 2015.
(photo credit: © GLENN FRANCIS / WWW.PACIFICPRODIGITAL.COM)
The Beverly Hills Police Department is “actively investigating” a synagogue that was vandalized in the city on Friday night, the department said in a media release on Saturday.
Police said they are investigating the incident as a hate crime but found “no overt signs of antisemitism.”
They responded to the call at the Nessah Synagogue shortly after 7 a.m. local time on Saturday, after an employee notified security when he “found an open door and items ransacked inside the synagogue,” the police said in the release.
Nessah Synagogue was established in 1980 by Persian Jews who immigrated to Los Angeles from Tehran after the Islamic Revolution.

Investigators believe a “lone male suspect” aged 20 to 25 is responsible for the crime, and that he has committed a number of other acts of vandalism in the area. The suspect overturned furniture in the building as well as “damaged several Jewish relics,” according to the statement. Fortunately the synagogue’s “main scrolls remained unscathed,” and disruption was “primarily to the synagogue’s interior contents,” with “very limited structural damage.”
“This cowardly attack hits at the heart of who we are as a community,” Mayor John Mirisch said in the release. “It’s not just an attack on the Jewish community of Beverly Hills; it’s an attack on all of us. The entire city stands in solidarity behind Nessah, its members and congregants. We are committed to catching the criminal who desecrated a holy place on Shabbat of all days and bringing him to justice.”
Contrary to earlier reports, the Iranian synagogue, one of the largest in Los Angeles, suffered less damage than originally believed.
“No Torah has been torn apart,” tweeted Moshe Isaacian, a Los Angeles local. “There was one non-kosher Sefer Torah [scroll] that was NOT in a locked hekhal [tabernacle] and was stored under the hekhal on the floor. No broken doors, no broken windows only books and furniture were overturned. Thank g-d.”
Last week, US President Donald Trump signed an executive order adopting the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) definition of antisemitism amid a rise in the country.
On Tuesday, a shooting attack against a kosher supermarket in Jersey City left four people dead.


Tags vandalism