Police investigate after shellfish thrown at Jewish fraternity house on Shabbat

The brothers of AEPi reported crayfish thrown at their house to university authorities


Panoramic view of UC Berkeley on a sunny day, view towards Oakland and the San Francisco bay shoreline in the background, California

Police in California have launched an investigation after shellfish were dumped outside a Jewish fraternity house at a US university.

The incident occurred at a chapter house of Alpha Epsilon Pi (AEPi) at the University of California, Berkeley.

A member of the society noticed a group of people with a bucket approach the house just before 1am on Saturday, August 26.

After the shellfish were discovered, the group called 911 and police officers were called to the house.

Gershon-Friedberg, a UC Berkeley senior and AEPi chapter president, who lives in the fraternity house, said: “We go outside, we saw crayfish had been thrown all over our deck, all over the side driveway, through the windows into someone’s room and scattered all around the backyard.

“We found claws by the side of the house and by the door. We found a fish tail and head in someone’s room. It was absolutely disgusting.”

The chapter believes the incident was antisemitic given the perpetrators used shellfish and the fact they targeted the house on Shabbat. 

Speaking to the Jewish News of Northern California about the incident, Gershon-Friedberg added: “We realised this is more than just a prank”.

A statement released on Sunday on Instagram, added: “This incident was undoubtedly deliberate, aimed at intimidating our chapter.”

The Berkeley Police Department confirmed the incident was under investigation but didn’t specify whether it was being investigated as a hate crime. 

A UC Berkeley spokesperson said in a statement: “We are saddened and dismayed by what appears to be a hateful incident of antisemitism targeting the members of the Alpha Epsilon Pi fraternity.

“The campus administration has a long-standing and unwavering commitment to confronting antisemitism, and its expression, as we do with all forms of bias, discrimination, and hatred.”

The spokesperson said an investigation was underway and added: “We will, as always, ensure there are appropriate consequences if laws, campus policies, and/or the Student Code of Conduct are found to have been violated.”

There are 20 students who live at the AEPi house and 25 students in total in the chapter. The chapter has eight students who keep kosher.

AEPi was founded more than a century ago after Jews were excluded from a New York University fraternity. 

It now has more than 150 active chapters across the United States, Canada, United Kingdom and Israel with more than 110,000 members.

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