The NYPD's Hate Crimes Unit was investigating after 10 to 12 mezuzahs were discovered burned at 85 Taylor St., in the Taylor-Wythe Houses, about 4:45 p.m., police said.
Mezuzahs are Jewish ritual objects that contain parchment inscribed with Hebrew biblical verses and are hung on doorposts.
"We're very horrified. I view this as an act of harassment," a young woman who often visit's her grandmother's fourth floor apartment said Tuesday morning. "It's very painful."
"This is a bad thing for us," said another woman who lives on the fourth floor.
The fires elicited strong denunciations from various New York politicians.
“Nothing but hatred can explain why someone would burn mezuzahs on Yom Hashoah, the day we remember the 6 million Jews killed during the Holocaust," Public Advocate Bill de Blasio said in a statement. "This is a sickening act of prejudice that strikes at the very core of who we are as a city. Make no mistake: we will find those responsible."
“This is a blatant act of anti-Semitism with a clear attempt to instill fear and intimidate the victims in their homes,” said the regional director for the Anti-Defimation League, Etzion Neuer, in a Tuesday statement. “We are confident that the perpetrators of these heinous acts will be quickly brought to justice.”
Anyone with information is asked to call the NYPD's tips hotline at 1-800-577-TIPS.