By Erin Levi

Jewish Insider reported that three Jewish-owned businesses on Manhattan’s Upper East Side were vandalized early Wednesday morning last week, with their glass doors shattered. The incidents occurred at the Level 78 barber shop on 78th Street and Third Avenue, the kosher restaurant Rothschild TLV on Lexington Avenue and 79th Street, and The Nuts Factory candy shop on Third Avenue and 74th Street. These break-ins took place around 2 a.m. on the night of Israel’s Independence Day.

These businesses are located within blocks of the Moise Safra Center on Lexington and 82nd Street, an area that has seen an increase in kosher establishments since the center opened.
A City Hall spokesperson informed Jewish Insider, «The NYPD is aware of a series of incidents at several businesses on the Upper East Side of Manhattan and is investigating. We recognize that many of these businesses are visibly Jewish-run, and we understand the community’s concerns.» The spokesperson added that the NYPD is examining whether these acts were bias-motivated and assured that if they were, those responsible would be charged accordingly.

Rami «Richie» Yagudayev, the owner of Level 78, recounted receiving a call in the night from a client who noticed the barber shop’s smashed glass door while walking his dog. The client reported the incident to the police. Yagudayev, an Israeli who has owned the shop for ten years, mentioned that only a phone used for playing music was stolen, with no money taken. He attributed the store’s protection to blessings, referencing the mezuzah on the door and photos of the Lubavitcher Rebbe, Menachem Mendel Schneerson, within the shop. Surveillance footage captured the perpetrator, described as an Asian man with his face covered by a mask.

Upon hearing about the vandalism at Rothschild TLV and The Nuts Factory, Yagudayev remarked, «Now it seems like a hate crime.»
Avital Chizhik-Goldschmidt, rebbetzin at Altneu Synagogue on the Upper East Side, likened the incidents to Kristallnacht, the 1938 pogrom targeting Jewish businesses in Germany, saying, «History doesn’t repeat but it definitely rhymes.» She stressed that the attacks appeared to be an attempt to intimidate the local Jewish community.
These break-ins followed another incident on Sunday at Breads Bakery, a Jewish-owned store on Third Avenue and 74th Street. Darryl Simmons, 40, was arrested and charged with burglary for that incident, which the NYPD stated is not being investigated as a bias crime.
Antisemitism in New York City has surged dramatically since the Oct. 7 terrorist attacks in Israel, with a 508% increase in reported antisemitic incidents in the fourth quarter of 2023 compared to the previous quarter.