Kelly shows faith along swastika-hit Remsen Street

The Brooklyn Paper
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The outpouring of support for the Jewish community in Brooklyn Heights got a boost from Police Commissioner Ray Kelly and Israel’s Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni, who came to Congregation B’nai Avraham on Sunday to denounce vandals who spray-painted 23 swastikas and other hate messages around the neighborhood on Sept. 24.

“One thing we won’t tolerate is … vengeful behavior,” the top cop said.

Last Monday, the Nazi symbols were found on several cars, at least two apartment buildings and two synagogues on Remsen Street — just hours after Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad made a hotly anticipated appearance at a Columbia University and hours before the one-time Holocaust denier addressed the United Nations General Assembly.

The Conservative B’nai Avraham and the Brooklyn Heights Synagogue, a Reform congregation, both had swastikas spray-painted on the steps of their buildings.

Since then, 20 NYPD detectives have been assigned to the case. This week, police stationed a three-wheeled Cushman scooter on Remsen Street to keep an eye out for trouble.

A coalition of Jewish groups is offering a $10,000 reward for any information about the crimes. But Kelly said the department still doesn’t have any leads.

On Saturday night, the day before Kelly and Livni visited the Heights, another vandal struck the Sons of Israel synagogue on Benson Avenue between 21st Avenue and Bay 28th Street in Bensonhurst. Police say they don’t believe the incidents are related.

The dignitaries both mixed with local leaders after the press conference. Livni stood beside B’nai Avraham’s rabbi Aaron Raskin and shook the lulav (a palm frond) and etrog (a citrus-like fruit) in a Sukkot holiday prayer ritual.

Kelly also posed for a picture with Pratt Institute’s rabbi Simcha Weinstein, who just happened to have a copy of his book, “Up, Up and Oy Vey,” that seminal tome about the Jewish roots of beloved American superheroes.

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