Bloomington, Ind. – Indiana University and Bloomington police are trying to determine if hatred is behind two vandalism incidents at Jewish centers on campus within the last few days.
Twice last week, rocks were thrown through the windows of the centers, causing minor damage, 6News’ Rick Hightower reported.
The incidents happened days before Chanukah, leading Jewish leaders to believe someone is intentionally targeting them because of their faith.
“It’s a very, very distorted person that could do this,” said Rabbi Yehoshua Chincholker, of Chabad House, at 518 E. 7th Street.
Members of Chabad House, where Jewish students study and worship, said a large limestone rock was tossed through the center’s back window during the day on Tuesday.
Chincholker said the vandals threw the rock so hard that it went all the way across the room. No one was in the building at the time.
Chincholker said it wasn’t the first time the center has been targeted. In previous years, vandals stole letters off the front of the building, and there have been previous rock- and beer bottle-throwing incidents.
“It’s frustrating and it’s painful because it’s an act you really can’t do much about. There are no fingerprints on the rock,” Chincholker said.
Chabad House wasn’t the only target.
Another large rock was thrown through a kitchen window at the Helen G. Simon Hillel Center, at 730 E. 3rd Street on Saturday.
Chincholker said he believes the two incidents, identical in nature, indicate to him it’s a hate crime.
“A rock was thrown into the kitchen, so we have a confirmation that it was an anti-Semitic act,” he said.
Indiana University police told 6News that they are working with Bloomington police and Crime Stoppers in hopes of solving both cases. They asked anyone with information to come forward.