By Penny Schwartz
BOSTON (JTA) — The grounds of a synagogue in a Boston suburb was vandalized with symbols that look like swastikas.
Congregants of Temple Sinai in Sharon, Massachusetts, located about 25 miles south of Boston, discovered swastika-like graffiti splashed over the large Star of David in the pavement near the synagogue’s front entryway as they arrived for Friday night Shabbat services on Sept. 20. They reported it to the Sharon police department, which is investigating the incident.
Two similar markings made with a sticky liquid substance were found in the plantings in the mulch beds on either side of the building, according to a police department statement posted on its Facebook page, along with photos of the vandalism. The town has a sizeable Jewish population and is home to several synagogues.
“While these markings were easily removed with soap and water, we imagine that their presence may remain in your minds, hearts and spirits,” synagogue president Cindi Crutchfield wrote to congregants. Crutchfield offered congregants support from clergy as well as from mental health professionals who are members of the temple.
In an earlier email sent to congregants by Rabbi Joseph Meszler, the rabbi encouraged people to attend religious services, and various synagogue programs planned for the weekend. “We will share in a prayer for strength when faced with adversity: Am Yisrael Chai – the Jewish people lives. This is not only a chant of defiance but also a statement that we should continue to lead our lives fully, without fear,” Rabbi Meszler wrote.
“Synagogues are increasingly becoming ground zero as anti-Semites continue sending messages of hatred to Jews,” Robert Trestan, regional director of the New England Anti-Defamation League, told JTA.