Brooklyn Vandal Marks Holocaust Remembrance Day With Possible Hate Crime

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An Israeli settler removes a mezuzah from his door frame.

Obviously there's no good day to perform an act of anti-semitism, but it's hard to pick a worse one than Holocaust Remembrance Day. It's still unclear if the date was a factor, but the NYPD's Hate Crimes Task Force has been called in to investigate the burning of religious symbols taken from the doors' of Jewish families at the Taylor-Wythe Houses in Williamsburg on Monday afternoon. The vandal targeted mezuzot, which are small boxes containing a scroll inscribed with verses from the Torah, snatching at least eleven and burning them while walking through the building. “This was a brazen act of religious desecration,” said Councilman Stephen Levin, while visiting the scene. “It’s hard to explain just how deeply painful this is to the religious Jewish community. It’s a blessing on a home. It’s a profoundly hurtful thing to do.”

Police are reviewing security camera footage, but late on Monday they still had no suspects. Nothing else was damaged and there were no incidents reported nearby, but the building has seen similar crimes in the past. Miriam Schwartz, 75, who's lived in the building for 40 years, told the Daily News that her mezuzah has been stolen once, and this is the second time she's had one burned. “This has to be stopped,” she said. “I’m always scared.”