For the second time in a week, someone has broken into a Brooklyn Heights synagogue — and the fed up rabbis are certain that the thief is a former recipient of the temple’s kindness.
“I feel violated,” said Rabbi Aaron Raskin, who heads Congregation B’nai Avraham, the frequently hit house of worship on Remsen Street. “It’s disgusting.”
Rabbi Simcha Weinstein added that he felt just as stung by the ordeal, which comes on the heels of an attempted break-in at the Jewish center’s basement door last week.
“It feels like a slap on the tuchus,” said Weinstein, adding that he was offended by the “big chutzpah” of the perp, using the Yiddish word for cojones.
Chutzpah, indeed. According to Raskin, the serial burglar, who is not Jewish, has been causing trouble periodically ever since the synagogue invited him in for a meal and some prayer about five years ago.
“We know who he is, I’ve met him personally,” said Raskin.
“He’s a drug addict. We gave him some food a few years ago and let him come in and pray.”
In the latest incident, the burglar smashed the rabbi’s office door and rifled the desk, taking $30 in “nickels and dimes” from charity boxes at around 4 am on March 2, said Raskin, who is also an author.
The rabbi is convinced that the crook is the same person responsible for at least five break-ins at B’nai Avraham since July.
Police would not comment on the attacks, but Weinstein said that cops told him they would increase patrols in the area — something they did in 2007, after someone spray-painted swastikas on the building’s front door. In that case, a suspect, Ivaylo Ivanov, was arrested last year at a nearby home that contained pipe bombs and a sawed-off shotgun, cops said. He’s awaiting trial.
Now, Weinstein (himself an author!) joked that he was considering sleeping in the building “with a baseball bat” to deter the crook.
He also said that the synagogue might consider additional security features beyond the new heavy-duty locks and a surveillance camera that were recently installed.