Temple De Hirsch Sinai vandalized with anti-Semitic graffiti
SEATTLE -- Temple De Hirsch Sinai, a synagogue on Capitol Hill, has been vandalized with anti-Semitic and Holocaust-denying graffiti.
Police are also investigated a suspicious package that was left at the temple. It turned out to be a book donation, police said.
Rabbi Daniel A. Weiner wrote on the synagogue's Facebook page that the graffiti was spray-painted on the facade of the old sanctuary. The temple is in the 1500 block of East Pike Street.
"It was just horrifically disturbing graffiti that kind of encompassed all classic anti-Semitic tropes of Holocaust denial and of Jewish affinity for money," Weiner sad in an interview with KOMO News Radio. "It was immensely troubling and immensely disturbing and shocking to me and to our community."
The incident comes amid a wave of threats against Jewish community centers across the country,
Those threats have included the Jewish community center on Mercer Island and Portland.
Weiner said in the interview that he wasn't surprised by the vandalism given what has been going on around the country.
Seattle police report that an off-duty officer spotted a spray-painted message in the 1400 block of 16th Avenue that called the Holocaust "fake history"
Police are increasing patrols in the neighborhood and ask that anyone with information call 206-625-5011.
Weiner announced the incident "with a heavy heart and troubled soul" Facebook and wrote that security has been increased.
"We immediately contacted law enforcement, who have responded quickly and efficiently in opening an investigation, for which we are profoundly grateful. Temple continues to take vigilant, substantive security measures to insure the safety and well-being of our community. In light of other recent threats and upcoming celebrations, we have further enhanced these measures," he wrote.
"And as we take all of these precautions, we are also adamant in our conviction that we will not allow the toxicity of intolerance and growing climate of hate to define who we are, how we live, and what our nation can be. We take courage from the upcoming celebration of Purim and its story in the Book of Esther, as our people triumphed over the evil plans of those who seek to diminish and destroy us, and as we stand shoulder to shoulder with all who are vulnerable and in need, placing our faith in God to inspire us to perfect a broken world."
Temple De Hirsch Sinai was founded in 1899 and has the largest Reform congregation in the Pacific Northwest.
Weiner said in the interview that his message to his congregation this Sabbath is that they should "deny those who wish to terrorize us any kind of momentum or any kind of success by continuing to live our lives as Jews, freely practicing Jews and to enjoy the blessings and opportunities of America ... "
Washington Gov. Jay Inslee issued a statement on Friday afternoon condemning the anti-Semitic vandalism:
“Yesterday’s act of vandalism at the Temple De Hirsch Sinai in Seattle is the latest in a wave of anti-Semitic threats against our state’s Jewish community.
“We can’t ignore the reality that these threats have increased in recent months. Right here in Washington — a state known for being tolerant, open-minded and forward-thinking — we are seeing an increase in reports of harassment, vandalism and attacks against Muslims, Sikhs, Hispanics and Latinos, African-Americans, LGBTQ individuals and other minority groups. It is the responsibility of each and every one of us to condemn any and all acts of hate and intolerance.
“I continue to stand with the Jewish community as I have stood with all Washingtonians. Regardless of one’s faith, color or orientation, Washington welcomes all. ”