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Vandals desecrate local synagogue

Swampscott Reporter

Police are looking for vandals who desecrated the Chabad Lubavitch synagogue at 44 Burril St. [in Swampscott, Massachusetts] some time last Friday night or early Sunday morning.

Police Inspector Ted Delano said the vandalism was discovered early Saturday morning.

“It appears somebody entered an unlocked door and then made several anti-Semitic markings inside,” Delano said.

The vandalism took place only days before the Jewish High Holy Days and during the Sabbath, Delano observed.

“We have documented the vandalism and the markings have been removed,” he said. “Our investigation began immediately and is continuing.”

He would not say if police have any particular suspects in mind. All of the damage was done inside the building.

“We are also asking anybody who saw any unusual persons or any unusual activity in the general area, including the monument area, to please come forward,” Delano says. The non-emergency line of the Police Department is 781-595-1111.

Rabbi Yossi Lipsker, spiritual leader of the congregation, called the incident “very sad, very sad to see this kind of thing is still something we’re dealing with.”

He said the timing of the vandalism serves as a reminder.

“It comes just when we see such an outpouring of kindness after Hurricane Katrina, when the people work together and the world seems like such a good place, then we have to be reminded there is still bigotry and hatred in the world,” he said.

“The only nice thing is to once again see the absolute kindness and understanding, the sensitivity, of the Swampscott Police Department,” he said.

The rabbi said he was out taking a Sabbath walk with his children when one of the congregants, who had discovered the vandalism, rushed to tell him and prepare him for the sight.

“We are a very strong people,” Lipsker said. “We still have a job to spread light and goodness and this kind of incident only makes us more determined.”

He wished all a happy new year, which began at sundown Monday on the Jewish calendar, and added, “I pray for the sad soul out there who felt he needed to do this (vandalism).”

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