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New York City kosher eatery hit with red paint, ‘free Gaza’ graffiti

Police opened a hate-crime investigation into the vandalism against the Jewish-owned restaurant.

Vandals threw red paint and graffitied the sidewalk at Effy's Café in New York City on March 16, 2024. Source: Screenshot/StopAntisemitism.org.
Vandals threw red paint and graffitied the sidewalk at Effy's Café in New York City on March 16, 2024. Source: Screenshot/StopAntisemitism.org.

Someone spray-painted a series of anti-Israel statements outside Effy’s Café on Manhattan’s Upper West Side and splashed red paint on the store’s front windows.

On Saturday night, vandals wrote “Free Gaza” and “form line here to support genocide” near the kosher dairy bistro on 104 W. 96th St. and Columbus Ave. The Jewish business, owned by Effy Jacoby, has been open for 15 years.

The New York City Police Department’s hate crimes task force is investigating the incident.

On Monday morning, volunteers used a power washer and other tools to remove the paint. A video shared online by Rabbi Shmuel Reichman showed before and after images as people cleaned the sidewalk.

“No matter how much hate there is, we will always respond by coming together and supporting our fellow brothers and sisters with love,” Reichman wrote. “So go get a cup of coffee, salad, sandwich and all kinds of delicious Israeli food this establishment offers, and keep supporting our Jewish businesses!”

A man wearing a hoodie with an Israeli flag who helped remove the graffiti said, “This aggression will not stand, man.”

Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.)  joined Jewish community members on Monday to speak out against the vandalism, posting: “Thank you to @JCRCNY for bringing us together to show that hate has no place in our city or our country.”

In related news, a Middle Eastern-style kosher restaurant and catering company outside of Philadelphia also saw “Free Gaza” spray-painted in black on an exterior brick wall next to their establishment.

Gladys Fink Senderowitsch, the Israeli owner of Nana’s Kitchen & Catering in Narberth, Pa., has also run her kosher restaurant for 15 years. She contacted the Anti-Defamation League after being made aware of the graffiti on Thursday afternoon, the day before shorter business hours due to Shabbat.

Police returned on Friday with a borough official to clean the wall and said the incident is being investigated.

A local crowd gathered that day to support the business run by a family that currently has two relatives being held hostage by Hamas in the Gaza Strip: Yair Horn, 44, and Eitan Horn, 37.

Both restaurant owners, who serve Israeli-style cuisine, noted the uptick in antisemitism since the Hamas terrorist attacks in southern Israel on Oct. 7, 2023. 

“Free Gaza” Graffiti at Nana's Kitchen & Catering in Narberth, Pa.
The words “Free Gaza” were spray-painted on the exterior wall of Nan’s Kitchen & Catering in Narberth, Pa., in March 2024. Source: Screenshot.
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