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NYPD hate crimes unit probes burned mezuzahs outside Brooklyn apartments

Religious objects attached outside the door frames of Jewish homes were burned in a Brooklyn apartment building Monday, New York City police said.

The NYPD's hate-crimes task force is investigating a total of 11 mezuzahs burned, said Deputy Commissioner Paul Browne.

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

One resident at the building, 85 Taylor St., said her mezuzah was not torched but she saw several burned ones and black scorch marks on doors and door frames. They were primarily wood mezuzah casings on apartments on the eighth floor and below, she said.

The woman, who asked not to be named for safety reasons, said she found it happened before 3 p.m. when a neighbor told her she had smelled smoke and saw the burning mezuzahs.

"Very weird and very scary," she said. "This is most definitely a hate crime, and it's very, very scary when it hits home."

Other details were not immediately available.

The vandalism comes as people across the world observe Holocaust Remembrance Day, which started Sunday night and ends Monday at sundown.

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