UPPER EAST SIDE, Manhattan (PIX11) — A vandal urinated on and kicked in sections of an Upper East Side sukkah on Saturday, the day before the start of a Jewish holiday.
The sukkah, a covered hut Jews eat in each year during the holiday of Sukkot, was built on Friday by the Chabad Israel Center at East 92nd Street and First Avenue. With limited space in New York City, community sukkahs are important for those observing the holiday. The holiday begins on Sunday night.
The vandal was caught on camera repeatedly kicking at sections of the sukkah around 1:20 a.m. on Saturday, a Chabad spokesperson said. Someone passing by intervened and stopped the vandal.
“We have been in touch with the authorities who are investigating this incident, though we’re not perturbed,” Rabbi Uriel Vigler, who co-directs Chabad Israel Center, said. “We are grateful to the brave New Yorker, who demonstrated what New York is all about, standing up to look after one another.”
Police believe the suspect was intoxicated, an NYPD spokesperson said.
Rabbi Vigler is hoping to find the good Samaritan who stopped the man from doing even more damage to the sukkah. He is seen in the video wearing a white hoodie, a backpack, dark pants, a blue baseball cap, and blue sneakers.
“If I would see that person I would give him a hug,” Rabbi Vigler told PIX11 News. “The man who stopped it is a hero.”
Residents here on the Upper East Side were sad to hear about this vandalism but relieved that a good Samaritan stopped it from getting worse.
“I am not a Jewish person, but I work with Jewish people and have friends who are Jewish,” Angie Mohamed, an Upper East Side resident, told PIX11 News.
Another neighbor, Caroline Hunt, said, “it’s unacceptable… and disgusting.”
At this point, police don’t believe the vandal’s motivation was anti-Semitic, but the NYPD hate crimes unit is investigating.