Reward offered in case of vandalized Mineola synagogue

| July 9, 2009

Jul. 9–Authorities are offering a $6,000 reward to catch whoever spray-painted swastikas on a Jewish house of worship in Mineola. The reward comes as police detectives are reviewing video surveillance of the area for evidence.

The graffiti, which police are investigating as a bias crime carrying tougher punishment, was scrawled sometime between 5 p.m. on July 2 and 5:30 a.m. on Friday on the front doors of the Congregation Beth Shalom Chabad at 261 Willis Ave.

"This is something we cannot tolerate and will not tolerate, and we will make sure that we hold people accountable for this type of behavior," Nassau County Executive Thomas Suozzi said on the steps of the synagogue early Wednesday afternoon.

A police source said investigators are in the process of reviewing videotapes from the area such as local businesses that have surveillance cameras.

Three vehicles on nearby Lincoln Avenue were also vandalized with the hate graffiti, police said.

"This despicable attack on us is also an attack on all of us," Beth Shalom’s rabbi, Anchelle Perl, said before leading a crowd that included Suozzi, the police commissioner, Lawrence W. Mulvey, and congregants in song — "Oseh Shalom," a Hebrew song that prays for peace, and then "God Bless America."

"We are very grateful living here in the United States of America to have had little experience of anti-Semitism," Perl said. "So when last Friday morning we discovered a large swastika painted on the front doors of our beloved shul, we felt hurt, we felt sad and we felt violated."

A congregant, Tricha Hill-Soshnick, donated $1,000 for the reward, and the police CrimeStoppers donated $5,000.

Tips, which the Nassau police promise will be kept confidential, can be phoned into 800-244-TIPS, authorities said.

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Category: Synagogue/Jewish Security

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