A sukkah constructed on an Upper East Side block— to celebrate and observe the Jewish holiday Sukkot— became the target of a vandal’s rage early Saturday morning, police and the Chabad Israel Center told Upper East Site. Surveillance video caught the suspect not only smashing the religious structure, but urinating in it as well, they say.
“We put up a gorgeous [Sukkah] right outside our Chabad Israel Center on East 92nd St.,” Rabbi Uriel Vigler wrote on Facebook after discovering the vandalism, sharing photos and video of the disturbing incident with neighbors.
“At 1:22am on Shabbat morning someone came and kicked the [Sukkah] breaking some glass.”
Surveillance video showing the sukkah— a hut constructed to honor the Israelites’ time in the desert after being freed from slavery— being kicked over and over by the suspect near the corner of East 92nd Street and Second Avenue in Yorkville, smashing pieces of plexiglass attached to the religious hut, police say.
Sukkahs are used as a place for Jewish families to have their meal’s during the weeklong celebration of Sukkot, which begins Sunday.
Before he could do any more damage, the suspect– man dressed in a black t-shirt, light-colored shorts and a backwards hat— is seen on video being confronted by a Good Samaritan, who just happened to be walking on the opposite side of East 92nd Street.
When the Good Samaritan spots the suspect, he appears to call out to him and then walk closer, raising his arms in the air as if so say “what the hell are you doing?”
Video shows the two come closer to each other to talk in the middle of East 92nd Street— the man in the blue cap appearing to plead with the suspect not to continue the destruction.
“This person has been stopped by this Good Samaritan,” Rabbi Vigler says, narrating the surveillance video posted to Facebook.
“As you can see in this angle, this Good Samaritan is stopping him from vandalizing the sukkah further. We thanks this person. Say a special thank you to him for saving us.”
Unfortunately, the damage was already done. Rabbi Vigler says the video also shows the suspect going inside the sukkah and urinating, though, that part has been removed from the clip posted on social media.
“We need to all stand united as one against these kind of acts,” Rabbi Vigler told Upper East Site.
“Thank God for the brave New Yorker who stopped the act of vandalism in the middle.”