'It is antisemitism': Oakland's Chabad Center vandalized twice in 2 weeks

ByRyan Curry KGO logo
Tuesday, July 9, 2024
Oakland synagogue vandalized twice in 2 weeks
Oakland police are investigating two different incidents of vandalism within two weeks at the Chabad Center.

OAKLAND, Calif. (KGO) -- Oakland police are investigating two different incidents of vandalism at the Chabad Center in Oakland. Twice in two weeks, someone came by and threw giant rocks at their window.

"To me, it is clear it is antisemitism," said Rabbi Dovid Labkowski. "I am so outraged by this because this can happen again at any moment."

The rabbi shared us two surveillance videos showing one where someone picks up a rock and throws it at the window. The other shows someone coming by carrying a rock and then throwing it. Two windows are damaged and one has cracks all over the panel. The rabbi says it is thick ballistic glass he had installed recently. He got it installed because he was worried about attacks on his congregation.

MORE: Antisemitic incidents in US hit all-time high, Anti-Defamation League report shows

"What is stopping a terrorist from coming by?" he said. "We anticipated bullets you know, God forbid if an attack happens. We anticipated graffiti, but we didn't anticipate rock throwing."

He says the cost to replace each panel is around $10,000. He has been in contact with Oakland police and they told him they would look into it.

"They promised to be on the case and do whatever they could," he said. "They started canvasing, and we are hoping they will be on top of it, but actions speak louder than words."

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The Anti-Defamation League says antisemitism has been on the rise since the start of the Israel-Hamas war. Marc Levine, the regional director, says everyone deserves a peaceful place to worship.

"It's wrong - we need elected leaders, community leaders in Oakland and the Bay Area to step up and denounce this," Levine said. "We also need Oakland leaders to make sure everyone, no matter their faith, can pray safely."

Rabbi Labkowski says he plans to use the rocks in a future project for the congregation.

"We're going to build with it," he said. "Instead of a dark and negative act of vandalism or antisemitism, we're going to turn into a positive and we're going to use it."

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