Brooklyn crime

Avenue Z Jewish Center has an anti-Semitic stalker

Brooklyn Daily
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A vandal who’s defaced the Avenue Z Jewish Center on multiple occasions has scrawled another hate-filled message near the religious center last week — sparking fears that the Sheepshead Bay synagogue is being targeted by anti-Semites.

A Star of David and the word “Jew” were found etched into the sidewalk just paces from the 50-year-old house of worship between Coney Island Avenue and E. Seventh Street.

But the graffiti was inscribed with the tag “RUS” — which was used by a vandal who scratched up the synagogue’s windows multiple times in recent years, according to center president Jay Freese.

“We’ve been targeted for a while,” Freese said. “There’s no swastikas yet, but it’s obvious anti-Semitism is in the neighborho­od.”

Assemblyman Steven Cymbrowitz (D–Sheepshead Bay) condemned the attack — and called on the NYPD to find the culprit.

“There is one sick individual out there and the police have to stop him,” said Cymbrowitz, who was briefed on Monday by officers investigating the crime.

A police spokesman declined to comment on the case.

The same vandal who marred the sidewalk near the Jewish Center marked up the synagogue’s windows twice in the past three years, Freese said. In both instances the suspect left his trademark three-letter tag but no anti-Semitic messages.

Last year, someone broke into the center by smashing a window. The thief damaged a Torah and other religious objects before running off with $200, Freese said.

Cymbrowitz and Councilman Mike Nelson (D–Brighton Beach) offered a $1,000 reward for information leading to any arrests in the break-in — which cops classified as a hate crime because religious items were broken — but the thief remains at large.

The sidewalk scandal is only the latest in a long line of crimes fueled by anti-Semitism in southern Brooklyn.

In January, vandals spray painted swastikas on trees in a beloved Floyd Bennett Field community garden. Last November, anti-Semites torched three cars on Ocean Parkway in Midwood and covered the destroyed vehicles with swastikas and other hate graffiti..

Reach reporter Daniel Bush at or by calling (718) 260-8310. Follow him at
Updated 11:48 am, January 16, 2019
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