Temple Beth Torah in Wellington, Florida was vandalized last week, shocking and outraging members of the town’s Jewish community.
Surveillance footage of the attack shows an unknown shirtless assailant striking the synagogue’s doors with a baseball bat, shattering glass all over its entrance.
Police from the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office rushed to the scene and opened an investigation into the case.
It was later revealed that the vandal had not only targeted Temple Beth Torah. According to police, he also smashed the door of a local church and damaged a row of 17 cars parked nearby.
The synagogue’s rabbi, Rabbi Andrew Rosenkranz, told local news group WPBF 25 that investigators called the attack a random act, essentially dissociating it from an anti-Semitic hate crime.
“That’s always a concern in the Jewish community when something like this happens is are you being targeted because of you being Jewish? I don’t know if that’s the case in this situation. I think that that’s best left to law enforcement and PBSO,” Rosenkranz said.
Anti-Semitism has, however, reared its ugly head in Florida before. A year and a half ago, a wave of arson attacks in Hollywood, FL targeted a number of kosher restaurants owned by Jews.
The World Zionist Organization’s Department for Countering Anti-Semitism chief Yaakov Hagoel said at the time that he was not surprised by the fires.
Noting the escalation of anti-Semitism around the world, Hagoel stressed that “anti-Semitism in the United States is alive and kicking.”