BOCA RATON - Is it hate or a random act of vandalism? One Boca Raton rabbi wants the answer to that question.
This comes after someone stole and broke mezuzahs outside a Jewish center.
"It's very shocking and disturbing. Jarring," explained Rabbi Ruvi New from the Chabad of East Boca Raton.
Friday, he replaced a mezuzah at the main entrance to the Chabad. He said someone stole two mezuzahs from the center last weekend.
"It's an ancient security system," New described the purpose of a mezuzah.
Jewish tradition says mezuzahs offer protection when placed on doorways.
Rabbi New said the two outside his Chabad were worth about $500 combined, but to this congregation they are much more valuable.
He wonders if there was a deeper hate behind the crime.
"You'd like to think we are past that, but every so often there are painful reminders," New pointed out.
Boca Raton police are looking into the case. A spokesperson said they haven't called it a hate crime, at this point.
Rabbi New said he doesn't want to focus on hate. He'd rather share a message about tolerance and peace.
"I would welcome the opportunity to engage a perpetrator like this and offer them a little education and enlightenment," he said.
If you have any information on the vandalism, call Boca Raton police at 561-338-1234.