The Anti-Defamation League has condemned an act of arson in Brooklyn as a hate crime after a dozen Jewish residents of a Brooklyn apartment building had their mezuzah scrolls set on fire.
“This is a blatant act of anti-Semitism with a clear attempt to instill fear and intimidate the victims in their homes,” said Etzion Neuer, ADL Acting New York Regional Director. “It is particularly disturbing that this horrific act of hate occurred on Holocaust Remembrance Day, a time in which we remember the heinous acts committed against the Jewish people.”
The incident happened Monday, Israel’s Holocaust Remembrance Day. Orthodox Jewish residents of the Taylor-Wythe Houses found the scorched remains around 4:45 p.m. Monday, police sources and neighbors told the New York Daily News.
“Why would somebody do this in broad daylight?” one woman who lives on the sixth floor of the public housing building, which is home to dozens of Hassidic families, told the Daily News. “It seems very vicious.”
The alleged arsonist started on the 13th floor of the building and worked his way down, lighting numerous mezuzahs ablaze along the way, police sources said.
Miriam Schwartz, who has lived on the third floor of the building for 40 years, said this was the second time she had her mezuzah burned. It had also been stolen once in the past.
“This has to be stopped,” said Schwartz, 75. “I’m always scared.”
Thus far no suspects had been apprehended but an NYPD spokeswoman said the investigation was ongoing.