NYPD probes another burned mezuzah in Brooklyn

The New York Police Department is asking for

The New York Police Department is asking for the public's assistance in locating the following person of interest wanted for questioning in regards to 12 incidents of arson that occurred within the confines of the 90 Precinct. (Credit: handout)

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A Jewish religious object was burned Tuesday in another Brooklyn apartment building, part of the same city housing complex where someone torched 11 such objects Monday, the NYPD said.

A mezuzah, a symbol of protection attached to the door frame, was found blackened at 130 Clymer St., part of the New York City Housing Authority, police said.

The NYPD Tuesday night released a surveillance photo of a person wanted for questioning in the 12 arson cases. Shown pulling a scooter, the man wore a purple do-rag and a black jacket with an "NY" symbol and also "New York" on the chest. Police said he is 20-25 years old.

Police, including the hate crimes task force, were investigating Monday's burnings of 11 mezuzahs at neighboring 85 Taylor St. when they learned of the latest torching.

"It's a shame," said Sheila Fargas, who lives in the Clymer Street building.

Mezuzahs are parchment scrolls with verses from the Torah. Families attach them, often inside decorative casings, to their doorways as protection and a reminder of their connection to God.

The burnings have stirred fears and discomfort among Jewish and non-Jewish residents. "It doesn't make me angry, but it makes me frightened," said Rachel Friedman, a Taylor Street resident whose mezuzah was burned. "There has to be a thorough investigation."

Housing officials declined to comment.

Monday afternoon was Holocaust Remembrance Day, the same day mezuzahs were burned on various floors at the Taylor Street apartments.

Sara Stern, who lives in the area, said the Williamsburg community is home to many surviving Holocaust victims. "They live the war every day," Stern said. "An incident like this wakes up trauma of the Holocaust survivor. . . . It also attacks the very core of your religion."

The incidents have made non-Jewish residents "uncomfortable," said George Hernandez, a resident of the Taylor Street building for more than 20 years. "People are going to walk back and forth for the next few days looking at us."

"This is a [housing] project. . . . It's not that it's perfect, but at least the majority of people here get along. We might not agree on everything, but we get along."

With Ellen Yan

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