Florida Synagogue and Social Services Center Target of Vandalism

Florida Synagogue and Social Services Center Target of Vandalism

The outside of the building sprayed with swastikas.

Parkland, FL

May 1, 2008

(lubavitch.com) Worshipers at Chabad of Parkland, a vibrant synagogue in North Broward were greeted Wednesday with swastikas and other anti-Semitic symbols sprayed onto the walls of their building.

Coming a day before Holocaust Memorial Day, the incident tore into the hearts of congregants who built the synagogue as an encompassing center that serves special needs children in the community.

Chabad of Parkland is home to the local branch of the Friendship Circle, a program for special needs children that recruits and trains local teens as mentors to these special children and provides a support group for their parents. Other programs include food assistance and counseling for the elderly.

“What happened is simply unthinkable,” says Alan Miller, a worshiper at the synagogue who also attends weekly classes at its Jewish Learning Institute, another project of Chabad. 

“South Florida is one of the best and most open minded communities in the nation. For this to happen here is a tragedy.”

Miller also pointed out that this hateful act hurt not only the Jewish community, but the larger one as well, as the Friendship Circle is open to all children with special needs, regardless of their religion. 

Rabbi Yossi Biston, Chabad’s regional director issued a statement of thanks to the police and to the community at large for its strong show of support. 

“We’ve received many calls and the support is heartwarming and overwhelming.  I’m very thankful for this community and for the good willed and generous people who live here in Parkland,” said Biston, who is committed to continuing all activities in spite of the incident.

“I hope that we will all learn from this and go forward in a spirit of friendship and unity,” he said.

As Chabad goes forward, the organization has decided to install security cameras to help stave off any similar attacks, and has launched a collection to raise the necessary fund. 

Contributions may be made here, or by sending their tax deductible donation to Chabad of Parkland, 7170 Loxahatchee Rd. Parkland FL 33067.

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