Jewish Journal

Irvine Chabad House hit by potted plant

By Lisa Armony

Posted on Jun. 2, 2011 at 12:44 pm

A potted plant was thrown through the front window of the Chabad House at the University of California, Irvine (UCI) on Tuesday, May 31.  The building is the site of regular Friday night and holiday dinners for UCI students and serves as the residence of UCI Chabad co-directors, Rabbi Zevi Tenenbaum and his wife, Miriam.

The incident took place at around 1:30 in the afternoon, according to a written statement issued by Tenenbaum.  A housekeeper was the only person inside the building at the time.  No one was injured.

The Chabad House is located adjacent to the UCI campus and is marked by a menorah on the front patio.

The plant thrown at the Chabad House window had been stolen from a porch of a neighboring home and shattered the glass, according to Julia Engen, press information officer for the Irvine Police Department.  It was deflected by the window screen and did not enter the home.  Police have no suspect information, but have not ruled out the possibility of a hate crime.

“We are investigating this in a comprehensive manner,” Engen said.  “There is nothing indicating that it is a hate crime, but we won’t discount that until we know who did it and why.” 

UCI has been the site of ongoing tension between Muslim and Jewish students.  In May, the university’s Muslim Student Union hosted its annual, weeklong program of Israel bashing featuring anti-Israel speakers and calls for boycotts and divestment from Israel.  That program was followed two weeks later by i-Fest, a celebration of Israeli culture sponsored by the pro-Israel student group, Anteaters for Israel.

Engen said that there is no indication that the incident was related to events at UCI and she is not aware of any similar incidents.

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