Santa Monica synagogue smeared with feces and food during Hanukkah

It was an unsettling start to Hanukkah for a synagogue in Santa Monica, California.

Rabbi Boruch Rabinowitz arrived at the Living Torah Center Chabad shortly before 8 a.m. on Sunday — the first day of Hanukkah — to find the entrance of his synagogue had been smeared with feces and rice, according to the Los Angeles Times. The act of vandalism is thought to have been carried out Saturday night or early Sunday morning.

Synagogue officials believe the vandalism was a targeted act. Though it didn't feature any explicitly anti-Semitic messages or symbols, it was reportedly found "in close proximity to a menorah display."

"This seems kind of intentional," assistant Rabbi Dovid Tenenbaum told the Los Angeles Times. "With a religious artifact in the window, we have to assume so."

Describing the scene to the Los Angeles Daily News, Tenenbaum talked of feces spread over the doors, window and bricks in front of the window, as well as wedged into the window frame.

Santa Monica synagogue  smeared with feces and food during Hanukkah
The vandalism reportedly occurred "in close proximity to a menorah display."
Source: Sergei25/Shutterstock

"It seems like someone either took their left over meal that they had gotten, rubbed it on the windows and threw it at the door," he told the outlet. "Then I'm not sure if ... it was human or animal poop, if you don't mind me saying that, stuck onto the wall on the window and in the corner of the window" at the synagogue's entrance.

Police were called to the scene and took a vandalism report, but found there was nothing immediately indicative of a hate crime, according to the Daily News.

RELATED: Here are 11 good things that happened in 2016:

12 PHOTOS
11 good things that happened in 2016
See Gallery
11 good things that happened in 2016

1. #no-DAPL Movement

Beginning in April, protesters stood strong at Standing Rock Reservation fighting the oil pipeline running through sacred ground. The months of activism paid off, as it was finally announced Dec. 4th that the pipeline would not run through the reservation.

(Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

2. The Rio Olympics

The world was blessed with this photo of Jamaican runner Usain Bolt winning the 100m race at the summer Olympics in Rio.

(Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)

3. Pokémon Go

This summer, one thing united us all: Pokémon Go. Granted, we were all walking around like zombies, but we were doing it together, sorta, and getting outside! Hoards swarmed in parks at all hours of the day and everyone started getting their steps in.

(Photo by Olivia Harris/Getty Images)

4. National Parks

Speaking of getting us outside and walking, the National Parks Service turned 100 this summer. Here's to another 100 for us all to get out there and explore them!

(Photo via Getty Images)

5. Panda Cubs

Chengdu's giant panda breeding program had 23 adorable Panda cubs born in 2016, all of them adorably fluffy, one of them a little too adventurous.

(Photo by VCG/VCG via Getty Images)

6. Netflix

Stranger ThingsGilmore GirlsBlack Mirror, offline downloads. Binge watching somehow got so much better this year. Plus, now you can download it all.

(Photo by Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

7. Chicago Cubs

The 108-year curse was broken when the Chicago Cubs won the World Series in Game 7.

(Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)

8. Beyoncé

No further explanation needed.

(Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

9. Cool things happened in space

Scott Kelly spent a year in space on the International Space Station. The astronaut left Earth March 27, 2015 and returned March 2nd, 2016. Also, NASA's Juno reached Jupiter after a 5-year trek. Yay, space!

(Photo credit KIRILL KUDRYAVTSEV/AFP/Getty Images)

10. Prince George

Prince George and his bubbles warmed all of our hearts when he showed us what pure joy looks like at a Garden Party in Victoria, BC. He also took business casual to the next level when he met President Obama.

(Photo by Chris Jackson - Pool/Getty Images)

11. Obama/Biden Memes

Last, but certainly not least, is the goldmine of Obama/Biden memes that's sprung up. The supply seems endless and all of them are gold.

HIDE CAPTION
SHOW CAPTION
of
SEE ALL
BACK TO SLIDE

The Living Torah Center has reportedly experienced anti-Semitic incidents in the recent past, the Los Angeles Times reported. About a month ago, a man stood up during a service and yelled "Heil, Hitler" while he appeared to mime shooting a rifle, then ran away. Other past incidents include a letter bearing a swastika and the message "Get out of here, you Jews"; graffiti scrawled on a sukkah; and a cross etched into the synagogue's front window.

Tenenbaum told the Times the synagogue is planning to install security cameras.

The vandalism was a "very disturbing" sight, Tenenbaum told the Daily News — but he also expressed gratitude that it happened during Hanukkah.

"Thank God, it's Hanukkah today and one of the symbolisms of Hanukkah is light, to spread darkness in the world. ... Hopefully, the light of the menorah can light up the world and dispel all the darkness," he said.

Read Full Story

Sign up for Breaking News by AOL to get the latest breaking news alerts and updates delivered straight to your inbox.

Subscribe to our other newsletters

Emails may offer personalized content or ads. Learn more. You may unsubscribe any time.