Tufts University police have opened an investigation into the theft of a mezuzah from the doorpost of a Jewish student’s dorm room.
The student at the Massachusetts university was woken up on September 4 after he heard laughter and “indications of potential vandalism” coming from just outside his room. When he went to check later that morning, he discovered that his mezuzah had been stolen, according to an email written by Tufts President Anthony Monaco.
"Regardless of intent, the removal of this important symbol of Jewish faith is anti-Semitic and has caused harm,” Monaco wrote. “All members of our community should feel comfortable displaying and expressing their faith, and all members of our community should respect those displays and expressions. We are all responsible to each other.”
After learning about the incident, the Tufts University Police Department opened an investigation. So far, they have not been able to identify the individual or individuals responsible for the removal of the mezuzah.
The New England chapter of the ADL denounced the anti-Semitic incident in a statement on Twitter.
“Purposefully removing a mezuzah from the door post of a Jewish home, apt or dorm room is an act of anti-Semitism. Disappointing & unexpected start to the fall semester for Tufts students and our community,” ADL New England wrote.
In his email, Monaco addressed the fact that the damage to the mezuzah was part of a larger problem of increasing anti-Semitism across the country.
“This incident comes amidst a documented rise in anti-Semitism across the nation, within higher education, and at our university,” said Monaco.
He added that Tufts will continue an ongoing program to address the issue of anti-Semitism at the university, especially with the rise in anti-Semitic incidents on collage campuses.
“I encourage each of you today to reaffirm your commitment to the values of our university. As our Jewish community celebrates the High Holy Days, I encourage each of you to reach out to your friends and colleagues who may be hurting today. It is imperative that members of our Jewish community know that they have our complete support.”