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Long Beach police to boost patrols during Jewish holidays, officials say

Long Beach Police Commissioner Ronald Walsh spoke at a press

Long Beach Police Commissioner Ronald Walsh spoke at a press conference on Monday announcing heightened police vigilance and patrols during the upcoming Jewish High Holy Days.  Credit: James Carbone

Long Beach authorities announced Monday a plan to increase patrols around houses of worship -- with an emphasis on synagogues -- during the Jewish High Holy Days.

Rosh Hashanah started Monday; Yom Kippur starts Sept. 15.

City police commissioner Ronald Walsh said the department has reviewed all available information from the Nassau County Police Department Center for Training and Intelligence to help mitigate potential incidences, and has connected with local religious leaders to obtain worship schedules.

Walsh said at a City Hall news conference that officers would "provide an additional layer of security when people are actually on premises."

In late August, the Chabad of the Beaches on Walnut Street in Long Beach was found ransacked with Jewish prayer shawls and Torahs strewed across the floor, a door of the holy ark broken off the hinges and several Torahs stolen. Police said at the time the burglary did not appear to be a hate crime or antisemitic attack.

Hunter McElrath, 23, was charged Aug. 21 with the burglary. He is scheduled to appear Wednesday in Nassau County Court.

Walsh said county police divers will search for the unrecovered Torahs Tuesday off city beaches with magnetometers and other specialized equipment.

"It was a very disheartening thing that took place," Chabad Rabbi Eli Goodman said at the Monday event. But, he said, "We saw how the city has risen to the occasion, we saw how the community has risen."

Goodman encouraged Long Island’s Jewish community "not to be afraid but to stand up, be proud Jewish people, be proud of who you are, just like we want people of all faiths to be proud of who they are."

With James Carbone

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