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CHICAGO (CBS) — Police are investigating hate graffiti that was found sprayed on a synagogue and Jewish school in the East Lakeview neighborhood.
Surveillance video indicated that the graffiti was sprayed between midnight and 1:30 a.m. on the property of the Anshe Emet Synagogue and Bernard Zell Anshe Emet Day School, located at 3751 N. Broadway, according to synagogue executive director Robert L. Krakowsky.
The graffiti was found on a brick wall alongside an entry gate to the school parking lot, as well as an apartment building adjacent to the synagogue property on Pine Grove Avenue.
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The synagogue and school occupy a large piece of land bounded by Broadway on the west, Pine Grove Avenue on the east, and Grace Street on the north.
Krakowsky characterized the messages in the graffiti as “frankly very offensive.” They said based on the surveillance
video, it appeared as if at least one observer might have witnessed the act.
The graffiti included the words: “Jews rape,” “Murder Jews” and “Save PAL”, an apparent reference to Palestinians.
Approximately 500 children attend the school at the complex, and many encountered the message as they arrived, Krakowsky said.
“It’s a very unpleasant lesson,” Krakowsky said Wednesday morning. “We like to think we live in a society where tolerance is the norm of all people, but apparently that’s not the case.”
But by mid-morning, synagogue officials had placed a white sheet over the graffiti and city crews later arrived to clean it. Anshe Emet Rabbi Michael Siegel said the vandals should not be given the satisfaction of seeing their message publicized.
“I think one of the things to consider is one of the reasons why we don’t show these things is because whoever did this was looking for exactly that – to publicize their acts, to make sure this is on the news so their handiwork can be shown,” Siegel said.
Dan Elbaum, Chicago director of the American Jewish Committee, said in a statement Wednesday morning that the graffiti was “particularly galling given last week’s murder of four French Jews by an attacker claiming to be motivated by events in the Middle East,” the Sun-Times Media Wire reported.
Elbaum noted that the vandalism occurred just over a week before Passover.
Anshe Emet is one of Chicago’s oldest conservative Jewish congregations. It was founded in 1873, and was originally located on Sedgwick Street. The congregation has been in its current location since 1929.