The Jewish founder and owner of a British fashion brand that sells modest attire is hoping to turn recent anti-Semitic vandalism to her store in Brooklyn, N.Y., into an art mural.

Hannah Lancry Sufrin, the London-based visionary behind House of Lancry, told JNS that on Monday an employee sent her a photo showing that the word “Jew!” was spray-painted on the gate outside of her flagship store in the Crown Heights neighborhood of Brooklyn. The store, which has been in business for a year, was preparing to reopen that day after being closed for three months due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Appalled by the graffiti, Sufrin, 34, said, “I feel like it wasn’t just an assault toward my property, it was an assault toward my identity and for me that’s worse than anything. … It’s hurtful, it’s hateful, and it’s upsetting in so many levels. Especially you’d think during a lockdown, people would learn a little bit of compassion and respect toward another human being. It made me so sad, like, where is the hope?”

On Wednesday, the mother of three, who was born and raised in Brazil, decided that she “could not stay silent about the injustice” and took to Instagram to share what happened. She received tremendous support from some of her 21,000 followers, including other Jewish businesses, and called on artists to help her turn the graffiti into artwork.

A post on Instagram by Hannah Lancry Sufrin calling for artists to turn vandalism into artwork. Credit: Courtesy.

“Since I opened the store, I always wanted the gate to be a point of reference when we’re not open. To turn it into like Wynwood in Miami,” with artwork where people would stop to take photographs, she told JNS. “To create joy and happiness. But we opened the store, and the cost was a lot, and we didn’t have the financial means to carry out the project.”

Sufrin said the incident has given her the opportunity to create the artistic mural she always wanted. She is aiming to create “a reminder that we are Jewish, proud and strong.”

“I don’t want to just cover [the graffiti] with black paint and forget that it ever happened,” she explained. “I want it to be a reminder every single day that we open our store that we are proud, and we’re not gonna stay quiet.”

Sufrin is already in talks with artists about creating something “very inclusive that shows a Jewish identity, but peace as well. And that there is no place for hate.”

She told JNS that the manager of her Crown Heights shop has been in touch with the New York City Police Department about the graffiti. She also noted that someone generously donated surveillance cameras to put outside the store.

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