EVESHAM TWP., N.J. (WTXF) - In South Jersey, a disturbing case of vandalism has shaken up one community. Police say someone actually tore off part of a synagogue's roof and used the shingles to spell out hateful messages.
"This building doesn't just contain a sanctuary. It is a sanctuary," Rabbi Nathan Weiner said.
He couldn't believe what he saw as he walked from the parking lot into Congregation Beth Tikvah Friday night and peered up at the skylights.
"I see light coming through the skylights from inside and spelling a derogatory word," the rabbi told FOX 29 Monday night.
Written across eight skylight windows was a word the rabbi says was both racist and homophobic. It was spelled out using shingles that had been torn from the roof of the synagogue in several locations.
"The word they wrote was disgusting, and it was interestingly not an anti-Semitic term, though it was done here at the synagogue. It was racist. It was homophobic. It felt to me like it was an outlet for
Hate," Weiner said.
Police responded immediately and began to investigate. The rabbi says investigators took pictures of the words and removed the shingles.
Police found other evidence around the building.
"We found a couple of Monster Energy cans around the synagogue. We don't know if that's connected. We think it might be," the rabbi explained.
The rabbi says Congregation Beth Tikvah is home to 200 families. He says since the incident Friday night the entire community has reached out to support his congregation. Many asked who would do this and why was the synagogue targeted?
"I don't know why here. This is a lovely community. One of the things that we received all day today is calls and emails from local pastors and reverends and rabbis of other synagogues, reaching out wondering what it is they can do to help support us," Weiner added.
Police say there is no surveillance video of the incident here at the synagogue. They hope some of the evidence left behind will yield some clues leading them to the vandals, FOX 29's Dave Schratwieser reported.