Southern Brooklyn

Hate Crime, Robbery At Avenue Z Jewish Center

Avenue Z Jewish Center President Jay Freese and Association of Holocaust Survivors From the Former Soviet Union Mark Goldovsky with broken Torah silver ornament. (Photo: Ari Kagan)

Murders, slum lords, fires and now… hate crimes! Sheepshead Bay is just kicking today…

A hate-filled cretin burglarized and vandalized the Avenue Z Jewish Center (875 Avenue Z), stealing hundreds of dollars and desecrating religious artifacts.

According to Councilman Michael Nelson’s office, which is offering a $1,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the vandal – or vandals – the burglary occurred on February 5. The perp(s) smashed a back window to the synagogue and stole $200 from a donation box. Not content to take the money and run, they also roughed up a torah, desecrating and damaging the religious scroll that can cost tens of thousands of dollars.

With assistance from Councilman Nelson and Assemblyman Steven Cymbrowitz, the 60th Precinct have deemed the act a hate crime. In addition to being one of the neighborhood’s older synagogues, it’s also home to the Association of Holocaust Survivors From the Former Soviet Union.

“Yet again, the Jewish community has come under attack by gutless individuals who have a complete lack of morals and ethics,” said Councilman Nelson. “First, it was the desecration of Jewish gravestones in Washington Cemetery and now this. I will do whatever I can to assist the police in their investigation and as a starter I am offering a $1,000 reward to anyone who is willing to come forth with any information that may bring these perpetrators to justice.”

More photos by Ari Kagan:

Comment policy


  1. Why don’t they have security cameras and/or alarm system.

    Hope who ever did it gets caught and PUNISHED to the fullest extent of the law.

    All this over $200? And to damage property
    Low lives…

  2. I doubt that. It could have just been a plain thief who needed the money to buy drugs, figuring since “the Jews have all the money,” he’ll find a bundle of cash in the cash box. Expecting to find thousands, when he saw only $200, he was so disappointed, he took out his anger on the defenseless torah, to teach them a lesson that they should keep more money available for him to fund his habit. I wouldn’t rule out a hate crime, but it may not be one.

  3. Maybe I’ve watched too much TV, but a simple thief would take the cash and
    bolt. This is not midtown, I don’t think anyone could expect more then a few
    hundred bucks in those boxes, especially considering the economy. They went
    the extra mile to damage important stuff. No, I think its more then a crook.

  4. Or maybe he/she/they got disappointed that there was so little money in the box and became angry. Combine this anger with antisemitic feelings they already had (as BrooklynBus pointed out), and this is the result…

  5. Or maybe they had it in for the place and broke in to hurt them any way they

    Tell me again what the point was in repeating BB’s statement?

    Yes, both are possible, hopefully the cops do their job and find who it is
    no matter what their motivation was.

  6. I think levp may be trying to say that the damage to the torah, like I said, was not pre-meditated before they entered the synagogue, but a decision made after seeing the small sum of money.

  7. @Arthur
    You said: “I think its more then a crook.”
    The crook said (I think): “I am not a crook!”

    I was arguing that no, it was just a crook – thus my reply to you.

  8. You don’t know that. None of us do. You’re thinking aloud that it’s just a crook the same way I’m thinking aloud that it may be more complex then that. BrooklynBus already suggested the same thing you did.

    Never mind man, never mind.

  9. Someone like that who would tear up any religious document needs to have something torn off of him. Slimeballs just couldn’t be satisfied with robbing the place?

  10. Perhaps you may be right. It’s a crime of opportunity. Churches and synagogues have been robbed before. The perp figured any house of worship would have funds within easy reach. I wonder if this happened during services.

  11. Fool didn’t realize the Torah scroll was worth more than the box. How sad for the congregation. My grandfather bought a Torah scroll for the synagogue he attended since he came to the US, 34 years ago. The synagogue changed hands, had a young, new rabbi and was not well funded. It cost quite a bit more than the article above quotes. I was incredibly proud of my grandfather for that gesture, which he made in the last year of his life. I’m sure every scroll has a similar story behind it. I am not religious, but the thought that some idiot could ruin something so precious to a congregation is sickening. I hope someone is able to replace it, and that they get some better security.

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