The man suspected of urinating on the front door of a Northeast Philadelphia synagogue and giving the finger to a security camera recording the act was arraigned on a host of charges Wednesday, including ethnic intimidation and indecent exposure.
Police said bail for Sheidali Dzhalilov was set at $50,000, but it was unclear Wednesday night whether he was still in custody.
On Tuesday night, Dzhalilov, 23, of the 2100 block of Hoffnagle Street in the Rhawnhurst section of the city, turned himself in to Northeast Detectives and announced that he was the man seen on the surveillance recordings desecrating the synagogue. The footage, released by investigators Monday, shows a man dressed in a white shirt and dark jeans walk up to Congregation Beth Solomon at 198 Tomlinson Rd. about 12:30 a.m. Sunday and urinate on the front door and the sidewalk. After emptying his bladder, he leaves in a white sedan, but not before making an obscene gesture toward the surveillance camera. The man’s face was clearly visible.
Police on Wednesday also charged Dzhalilov with institutional vandalism, desecration objects, open lewdness, harassment, and disorderly conduct.
In an interview Wednesday night, Rabbi Solomon Isaacson, founder of Beth Solomon, said he was relieved that a suspect was in custody. Beth Solomon has been vandalized two other times within the last 12 months. In September, a menorah was taken from outside the building, and in January, someone spray-painted graffiti on the wall of a nearby shopping center where the synagogue’s ritual bath is housed.
“This was definitely a hate crime,” Isaacson said. “I hope they prosecute this as a hate crime and not as some misdemeanor.”
It was unclear whether Dzhalilov was facing misdemeanor or felony counts.
Isaacson praised the Police Department for getting the surveillance tape and the suspect’s image out to the public quickly.
“We need to thank the police. They did a terrific job,” Isaacson said.
Asked how he would counsel his congregation in light of the vandalism, Isaacson said, “We have to understand that this man was influenced by his surroundings, his family, his friends.”
He said if people get to know and understand other people, their “reactions to people of different religions, faith and race would be different.”