A thief with a penchant for mezuzot has alarmed authorities and the residents of an apartment complex in Brooklyn, local media have reported.
Alla Fatima, 23, was the eighth and latest victim of mezuzah theft in the Trump Village apartments, situated in Sheepshead Bay. Fatima received the mezuzah as a gift and spent several hundred dollars on the attending encasement.
“[The mezuzah] was so beautiful,” bemoaned Fatima following the incident. “My friend brought it back for me from Israel.”
Since early December, residents of the 15th, 18th, and 19th floors of the building have been deprived of their mezuzahs. This latest instance marks the first to take place on the 20th floor and comes at a time when incidences of anti-Semitic activity are becoming increasingly rampant throughout New York City.
“It is both offensive and disturbing that New Yorkers cannot be openly observant of their faith without suffering egregious attacks of religious intolerance,” explained Councilman Domenic M. Recchia, Jr. of District 47. “It is our moral duty to our neighbors that we take the proper initiatives to protect and honor their religious freedoms. I am doing everything in my power to increase security measures at the Trump Village Apartments so these deplorable acts will end.”
The installation of security cameras and hallway monitors are among the measures currently being implemented to tackle the growing problem, Councilman Recchia added.
“Someone is systematically removing mezuzot,” noted Councilman Lew Fidler of Marine Park. “We can’t sit in silence when something like this happens.”
The Mezuzah pilfering is being characterized as one of a series of hate crimes that have hit the Jewish community as of late. Earlier this month, authorities detained a suspect accused of sending threatening messages to women and putting swastika graffiti on buildings throughout Midwood. News of a firebomb thrown into a rabbi’s home in Rutherford, NJ, made headlines, with the alleged perpetrator being arrested last week, and the past few months have featured similarly somber stories. Authorities are still investigating the mezuzah thefts to determine their origin and possible relation to these other anti-Semitic incidents.