(JTA) – New York Police are investigating the arson of a minibus decorated in Jewish symbols as a possible hate crime.
According to police, someone broke the windows of the bus owned by a Brooklyn artist, Lev “Leviticus” Schieber, and set it on fire at around midnight Sunday in Brooklyn’s East Flatbush section, the New York Post reported. Schieber arrived on the scene 30 minutes later.
Schieber uses the so-called mitzvah bus as a studio and gallery for his paintings in the Crown Heights neighborhood, as well as at festivals and parades. It was seen in the popular music video “I’m a Jew and I’m Proud” by singer Benny Friedman.
“Any violent act like this doesn’t just target any specific person or group, it’s against humanity,” Schieber told News 12 Brooklyn.
Last summer, the tires on the bus were slashed.
Schieber said the bus served as a way for Jewish residents to feel a sense of community.
“When we drove around, it made the kids smile and gave people a feeling of Jewish pride,” he told the Post. “It made people perk up a bit, nudged them out of their normal reality for a minute.”
Schieber started a GoFundMe campaign to rebuild the bus and has already raised thousands of dollars.