(November 1, 2018 / JNS) Days after 11 people were shot and killed at Pittsburgh’s Tree of Life*Or L’Simcha Synagogue on Saturday, two vandalism incidents have further rocked the American Jewish community.
On Tuesday, Ben Jacob Congregation in Irvine, Calif., was defaced with anti-Semitic graffiti with the words “F*** Jews.”
The Irvine Police Department is conducting a full investigation, according to the synagogue. The incident is reportedly being considered a hate crime.
“Here is what we know so far based on our camera footage. At about 1:18 a.m., an individual wearing a hoodie, sunglasses and a surgical facemask jumped our fence at the pedestrian entrance on Michelson Drive,” said the congregation’s leaders in a letter to Orange County Jewish Life magazine. “The suspect proceeded towards the wall where the Beth Jacob of Irvine sign is facing the street and began to spray-paint his hateful message. After he was done, the suspect left the premises on a bicycle he apparently stolen from our premises.”
Former resident Sara Weissman said “this hurts in a deep, personal way. I grew up on Beth Jacob’s playground. This community brought my family food whenever someone was sick. No stranger goes home without an invite for Shabbat dinner. Whoever vandalized Beth Jacob wants to make us afraid of doing what the shul does best—making Jews feel at home. But knowing my community, it’s not gonna happen.”
The synagogue held a vigil on Monday night for the Pittsburgh victims.
Meanwhile, headstones and vases were destroyed at a small Jewish cemetery in Orange, Texas, as discovered by its groundskeeper on Monday.
Police are investigating this as “criminal mischief,” according to CBS affiliate KFDM.
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— KFDM News (@kfdmnews) October 29, 2018