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The gates are locked, but beyond the secured buildings members of the Beth Jacob Congregation say they are united “in strength” the day after a hooded intruder defaced their place of worship.

“Yes, it hurts me in the heart. I feel like this, this is my child,” congregation co-founder Basil Luck said Thursday, gesturing to the property nestled near the Rancho San Joaquin Golf Course in Irvine.

“But more than the reality of seeing the graffiti is seeing the letters of support that have given us deep hope. So many people care, and we join with them knowing that there is more good than bad in the world.”

The massive outpouring of support gave the congregation’s 225 families a huge boost, Luck said, reflecting on a “lovely” missive from Irvine’s mayor and messages from people across the county and beyond.

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