Neighbors of a Chabad-Lubavitch rabbinical high school in Chicago believe damage inflicted on the school’s building was inspired by the current fighting in the Middle East.

Early Saturday, passersby found “Death to Israel” spray painted in bright orange lettering on the side of the building, located in the West Rogers Park area of Chicago. A front window was shattered.

Rabbi Moshe Perlstein, dean of the Lubavitch Mesivta of Chicago, said security cameras captured video of two men damaging the rabbinical school at about 4:40 that morning. The video, which was quickly turned over to the police, shows one man spray painting the side of the building while the other individual can be seen running around to the school’s front entrance. Students were not in the building at the time.


Neighbors offered their assistance as soon as they heard of the damage. Community member David Sugar said that he rushed over to the yeshiva to make sure that everyone was okay.

“Not only do the students study, but they reach out to anyone they meet,” said the man, who frequently volunteers as a driver for the school. “They bring smiles and kind words to anyone they meet in the street. To target their study hall is simply cowardly.”

The vandalism came on the heels of similar damage discovered at two other area synagogues.

“We are taking all necessary precautions,” said Cmdr. David Sobczyk of the Chicago Police Department. “There will be a significant increase in security resources, including adding K-9 and undercover units to all local Jewish organizations in light of the recent occurrences.”

In response to the attacks, the regional headquarters of Chabad-Lubavitch of Illinois has scheduled a community prayer service for 8:30 Tuesday evening.