Police search for man accused of carving swastikas into Queens sidewalks
NEW YORK - Rabbi Mark Kaiserman of the Reform Temple of Forest Hills said he will never again watch the surveillance footage shot by his synagogue’s security cameras of an incident from Wednesday afternoon.
In broad daylight and in front of a woman pushing a stroller, a man can be seen crossing the street, etching a swastika into the sidewalk, then running off.
"You wonder what goes into a person’s mind in the middle of the day to stand there in front of other people to etch out a symbol of the Nazis," Kaiserman told FOX 5.
The rabbi said he is well aware that antisemitic incidents are occurring more frequently. But, he says, this time it was personal.
described as having a medium complexion, slim build, and was last seen in a blue sweatshirt and gray sweatpants. (Credit: NYPD)
"It feels like a violation," he continued. "This is a sacred space, a space of comfort and community. To have a symbol of utter hatred in front of our sacred space is just a smack in the face of everyone, for generations of Jews."
But this was not an isolated incident. Police believe the same man who carved a swastika in the sidewalk is also responsible for at least five other antisemitic etchings in Queens— all of which took place within the past week.
Police are asking for the public’s help in finding the suspect. He’s described as having a medium complexion, slim build, and was last seen in a blue sweatshirt and gray sweatpants.
RELATED: Antisemitic incidents in the US reach highest level ever recorded, ADL finds
But Kaiserman is now less focused on the suspect. He said, from the moment the synagogue's custodian found the swastika, their attention turned toward healing and toward being grateful for the community’s response.
"I think that will ultimately be the message sent – that people care for each other and want to help each other in times of struggle."
If you have any information that could lead to an arrest, police urge you to call 800-577-TIPS.