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Antisemitic attacks target three University of Denver students

Jewish ritual objects were desecrated, and pork was affixed to a student’s door.

Pork vandalism at the University of Denver, Feb. 2023. Source: StandWithUS.
Pork vandalism at the University of Denver, Feb. 2023. Source: StandWithUS.

From Feb. 9 to Feb. 12, three Jewish University of Denver students were targets of antisemitic attacks, including pork left at one student’s doorstep and smeared on the door, and mezuzot ripped off two students’ door frames. (Some news reports referred to the pork as “glued” to the door.)

A mezuzah is a ritual object that contains the Shema prayer written on parchment, affixed to Jewish doorposts. The attacker tampered with the scrolls in the students’ mezuzot, destroying one of them, according to StandWithUs.

“The students are all identifiable Jews or Jewish leaders on campus,” the international nonprofit stated.

StandWithUs said that vandalism of mezuzot is on the rise in the county but these attacks were particularly shocking given the way they centered on Jewish religious practice, including the prohibition against consuming pork.

The private, nearly 160-year-old university, which has an enrollment of about 14,000, condemned the incidents and opened an investigation. “We stand together in deploring these acts and in committing ourselves to promoting a warm, welcoming campus in which all community members can thrive,” the school stated on Twitter.

A statement on the university website mentioned the attacks were antisemitic but generalized its commitment to “a warm, welcoming campus in which all community members can thrive.”

The university’s undergraduate student body is estimated to be about 10% Jewish, reported CBS Colorado. “Small acts of hate lead to bigger ones and make life unsafe for all students,” the university’s Hillel stated.

Roz Rothstein, CEO of StandWithUs, said that as a daughter of Holocaust survivors she is “shocked and horrified by the religious nature of these antisemitic assaults taking place in 2023.” That both anti-Israel and antisemitic incidents are on the rise is not a coincidence, she added.

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