Holocaust couple blame temple for car vandalism

Holocaust couple blame temple for car vandalism
Photo by Steve Solomonson

The long-simmering feud between two Holocaust survivors and their synagogue neighbors has led to vandalism, say two elderly residents who claim congregants of a Manhattan Beach prayer house have been acting less-than holy.

The Blums — Isaac, 89, and Rosa, 87 — claim that someone from Congregation Shaarey Torah took a blue marker to their car windows on the night of Friday, Feb. 17 to cover up a story from this paper about the noise complaints the couple has filed against the synagogue and its blaring heating system. The vandal also covered up a letter to synagogue’s leader Rabbi Moshe Plutchok, detailing the complaints.

Blum’s Toyota Camry was parked in front of the synagogue on West End Avenue when it was vandalized, according to the report Blum filed with police.

“It’s obvious that somebody didn’t like [the article and the letter], and the only people who don’t like them are at the shul,” said Isaac Blum.

Yet temple-goers say they couldn’t be responsible for the marker attack, since it took place on a Jewish holy day.

“It’s against our religion to do something like that during the Sabbath,” explained Perry Newman, who has worshipped at Congregation Shaarey Torah for the past 18 years.

The Blums wiped away the scrawlings, but fear further retaliation.

“We are distraught and are afraid something else will happen,” said Isaac Blum.

The Blums say their conflict with the temple began four years ago after it installed an air-conditioning system that sounded like a “diesel engine” a few feet from the Blum’s bedroom window. The Blums claim they can’t sleep when the device is on.

But Newman and other congregants say the synagogue’s conflict with the Blums stretches back more than 16 years, when they say the Blums boarded up the synagogue’s basement window to stop the congregation’s children from tossing trash through the opening and onto a common driveway — a move Plutchok’s predecessor, Rabbi Bergstein, OK’d.

“Rabbi Bergstein said to leave it alone, that they were Holocaust survivors and that they’d suffered enough,” Newman said.

Congregant Jerry Greenwald said the former labor camp workers are habitual nags.

“Mr. Blum has been complaining regularly from the day he moved in 30 years ago,” Greenwald said.

Reach reporter Colin MIxson at [email protected] or by calling (718) 260-4514.

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