MIAMI BEACH, FLA. (WSVN) - A concerned rabbi is speaking out days after a Miami Beach synagogue was targeted by vandals spreading a message of hate during Hanukkah.

Rabbi Marc Philippe of Temple Emanu-El at 17th Street and Washington said the house of worship was defaced late Saturday night.

“We tried to cover it as fast as possible,” he said.

7News cameras captured a door with a fresh coat of paint.

What it covered was a swastika and the letters “RSS” above it written on a side door of the synagogue.

“It’s a big deal. We need to talk about it,” said Philippe.

The rabbi is especially saddened since the hateful symbols were discovered on the final day of Hanukkah, the Jewish Festival of Lights.

“Hanukkah is a time when we are increasing light. We strive to increase light; we do it in a menorah physically, but we also do it with our life,” said Philippe.

The vandal who defaced the temple, however, was clearly not aiming to spread light.

“It’s the type of person who likes to bring darkness, who likes to hurt, who likes to lie, who likes to perhaps bring themselves up by bringing other people down,” said Philippe.

The hateful symbol and tag were only visible for a few hours, as Miami Beach Police came out to photograph the crime and investigate.

While officers keep an eye out for the culprit, Philippe said he will be praying for that person.

“It is obvious that this person is not experiencing love,” he said, “so I wish, not only this person, but everybody to experience love and blessings.”

The rabbi said this is the second time this temple has been tagged with hateful messages. He hopes this will be the last.

Copyright 2023 Sunbeam Television Corp. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Join our Newsletter for the latest news right to your inbox