Police are searching for an individual who defaced Congregation Kehilath Jeshurun (KJ) Synagogue on the Upper East Side in Manhattan, New York, with antisemitic graffiti. The incident occurred around 7:00 p.m. on Saturday when the suspect used a marker to write the hateful messages on a display screen attached to the synagogue.
The suspect, described as a man around 25 years old with short black hair and a slim build, fled on foot towards Westbound East 85th Street. Security cameras captured the suspect wearing a white tank top, camouflage shorts, and white sneakers.
The NYPD's Hate Crimes Task Force has launched an investigation into the incident. The incident is among more than 100 hate crimes reported against the Jewish community in the city, according to the NYPD's Hate Crimes Dashboard as of June 27.
Comments from the synagogue's rabbi
Rabbi Chaim Steinmetz, Senior Rabbi of KJ, and Jonathan Wagner, the community president addressed the incident on Facebook on Sunday."We write to inform you of an incident that occurred at Congregation Kehilath Jeshurun last night," the post said. "Around 7:00 pm, our sidewalk display boards on 85th Street were vandalized by an individual using a sharpie pen.
"No harm came to any of our community members during this incident," they wrote.
The post continued: "We take this matter seriously and are treating it with the utmost urgency. We immediately reported the incident to the 19th precinct, which has labeled the incident a hate crime. We are closely cooperating with the precinct's investigation. Additionally, the Community Security Initiative is actively involved in addressing this issue and ensuring the safety of our Congregation."
They concluded: "KJ and Ramaz [high school] are committed as always to upholding the highest standards of security for our community. We are continuously upgrading our security protocols and are currently undergoing a comprehensive security review conducted by an external firm to enhance our security measures."