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Man leaves anti-Semitic graffiti at Brookline synagogue, then pauses to admire message of hate

He wore a blue skull cap, dark glasses, and had a cigarette dangling from his mouth as he left a message of anti-Semitism on the door of a Brookline synagogue, pausing briefly to admire his hate before sauntering off into the darkness of night.

Brookline police and the Anti-Defamation League of New England are searching for the identity of the burly man dressed all in dark clothing who defaced the door of the Chabad Center on Harvard Street around 2 a.m Sunday. Police have posted a surveillance camera video of the incident that took place on the brightly lit front porch of the synagogue.

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Wearing sneakers and a backpack, the man apparently brought a white pen with him. After he finishes defacing the door, he is seen putting a cap back on the pen and putting it into a pocket. He then starts walking off the porch, but pauses at the top, turns half-way around so he can face the door, and stands there for about six seconds looking directly at the spot where he scrawled the hate message, the video shows.

The man “defaced the property with anti-Semitic graffiti, written in Russian,” police wrote in a posting on Facebook. “A symbol was drawn above the words which closely resembled a swastika.”

The ADL has offered a $1,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and prosecution of the man.

Police said they are investigating the incident as a hate crime.

“It is believed that the man approached the Center from the direction of Coolidge Corner and left towards Commonwealth Avenue,” police wrote.

Robert Trestan, executive director of the Anti-Defamation League of New England, tweeted about the hate crime Tuesday.

Last May, arsonist or arsonists struck the Chabad Center for Jewish Life Arlington-Belmont in Arlington and the Chabad Jewish Center in Needham about one hour later, state investigators said. No arrests have been made in that case.

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The Massachusetts chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations released a statement denouncing the hate crime against the Jewish house of worship.

“Massachusetts Muslims stand in solidarity with the Jewish community in Brookline and across the state,” said John Robbins, executive director of CAIR-MA. “We’re appalled by this act of bigotry. An attack against one of us is an attack against all.”

Robbins noted in his statement that vandals also vandalized gravestones at a Bedford with anti-Semitic graffiti.




John R. Ellement can be reached at john.ellement@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @JREbosglobe.