(From left) Broken down door to an office at Chochmat HaLev synagogue in Berkeley and a Berkeley Police officer taking fingerprints (Photo/Facebook)
(From left) Broken down door to an office at Chochmat HaLev synagogue in Berkeley and a Berkeley Police officer taking fingerprints (Photo/Facebook)

Burglary at Berkeley synagogue; $15,000 worth of goods stolen

Chochmat HaLev, a Jewish Renewal congregation in Berkeley, suffered a break-in and burglary in the early hours of Monday morning.

Executive director Dorrit Geshuri said computers and other electronics were taken from interior offices. The stolen goods, which included her work laptop, totaled $15,000. A Facebook post Monday noted that “most of our computers and sound equipment” had been stolen.

“One of the office doors had been kicked in,” Geshuri said. “Like violently smashed in.”

The burglary was discovered in the morning by the facility manager, who lives upstairs but heard nothing. Geshuri said that although interior locks had been broken to get in, the main door looked untouched.

“We actually suspect they might have had a key,” she said. “There’s no sign of forced entry.”

Unfortunately, Geshuri said, the building, set on a quiet residential South Berkeley street, had no alarm system or surveillance.

“Ironically, one of the things they stole was boxes of video cameras we were about to install,” Geshuri said. The organization is insured, but is happy to take donations towards the deductible at chochmat.org/give.

She added that the fact that the break-in happened during the High Holidays and by someone who knew how to get in was concerning.

“I don’t want to jump to the conclusion that it was a hate crime in any way,” Geshuri said. “But I don’t want to rule it out either.”

Maya Mirsky
Maya Mirsky

Maya Mirsky is a J. Staff Writer based in Oakland.