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Home > News & Politics > U.S. > L.A. Orthodox day school vandalized




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L.A. Orthodox day school vandalized

By TOM TUGEND
Jewish Telegraphic Agency
September 26, 2000

LOS ANGELES—Vandals struck an Orthodox day school in the Los Angeles area this week, leaving behind smashed computers, broken windows and classrooms doused with foam from fire extinguishers.

During their rampage, the vandals also scrawled graffiti-including swastikas and anti-Semitic expletives-on the walls.

Damage from Sunday's attack on the West Valley Hebrew Academy in Woodland Hills, a 200-student elementary and middle school, was estimated at between $50,000 and $100,000.

Police blamed two teen-age boys, residents of a home for youths with alcohol and drug problems, who were arrested on the school campus.

This was not the first attack on the 12-year-old school, but it was by far the most destructive.

"They went bananas," Rabbi Zvi Block, the school's principal, told the Los Angeles Times. "This was totally disastrous."

Parent volunteers and professional cleaners worked from 10 p.m. Sunday to 7 a.m. Monday to try to fix up the classrooms for the students.

Much of the graffiti was scrawled around a Hebrew sign admonishing, "Guard your tongue from speaking evil."

The two boys apparently acted alone and are not connected with any hate group, according to police.

A French-language school that sublets rooms from the Hebrew Academy was also vandalized. Some 95 percent of the students reported to their classes on Monday morning.

"It takes more than this to bring us down," Block told the L.A. Times. "We've been kicking around for 3,500 years, you know."

Much of the trashed computer equipment was purchased as a result of a major fund-raising effort last spring. A local businessman has already donated $5,000 for repairs.

© JTA Inc., 2000. May not be reproduced without written permission
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