Teenage boy tossed rock through NE Philly synagogue window, police say

A 13-year-old boy has been charged with throwing a rock through the window of a Northeast Philadelphia synagogue over the weekend, according to police.

The boy, whom police did not identify because he is a juvenile, is accused of hurling a baseball-sized rock Sunday through a stained glass window of Temple Menorah Keneseth Chai, a synagogue near the border of Tacony and Mayfair that had been similarly vandalized at least two other times since December.

Lt. Dennis Rosenbaum of Northeast Detectives said the boy was charged only in the most recent incident, which was captured on surveillance video Sunday night. The boy was arrested Monday, Rosenbaum said, and charged as a juvenile with institutional vandalism, criminal mischief, and possession of an instrument of crime.

No one was injured in the incident. Rosenbaum said it appeared the motive was simply “kids being mischievous” and that the boy was remorseful. The boy was with a friend at the time, but Rosenbaum said police had not yet determined if he would also be charged.

The synagogue has been at the site since 1925 and has been described as the oldest synagogue in Northeast Philadelphia.

The wave of vandalism there started before the toppling of headstones at Mount Carmel Cemetery, a Jewish burial ground in Wissinoming. Rosenbaum said police did not believe the 13-year-old was involved in that incident.

Addressing the vandals in a commentary piece last month, the rabbi of Temple Menorah Keneseth Chai, Robyn Frisch, wrote that while the repeated rock-throwing had shaken the congregation, it had also brought them closer together.

“My congregation isn't going to move out; we're going to move on,” she wrote. “We're here to stay, and because of your stone-throwing, we're more connected — to each other and to others in our neighborhood and beyond — and we're stronger than ever.”