Police in Beverly Hills are looking for a man who allegedly vandalized a local synagogue late Friday night, ransacked the interior, and destroyed religious relics, according to a press release.
The vandalism, which was discovered at Nessah Synagogue on Saturday morning, is being investigated as a hate crime.
“This cowardly attack hits at the heart of who we are as a community,” Beverly Hills Mayor John Mirisch wrote in a statement. “It is not just an attack on the Jewish Community of Beverly Hills; it’s an attack on all of us."
The police said the suspect is white, between 20 and 25 years old, and was thought to have committed several other acts of vandalism nearby before entering the synagogue.
Police said the man "damaged several Jewish relics," but the Torah scrolls were unharmed. They added that the suspect distributed "brochures and materials throughout the interior" but didn't specify what was on them.
Founded in 1980 by the son of the former chief rabbi of Iran, Nessah is an Orthodox synagogue for Iranian American Jews. A 2011 story in Tablet magazine described Nessah as a community center for the large population of Iranian American Jews in the Los Angeles area.