Investigators say someone sprayed graffiti on the F.R.E.E. Synagogue in the 2900 block of West Devon Avenue at approximately 4:40 p.m.
Police stayed on location after synagogue members noticed yellow swastikas sprayed on the outside wall.
In fact, Rabbi Levi Notik of Synagogue F.R.E.E., a synagogue dedicated to “Friends of Refugees from Eastern Europe,” saw a swastika on his building while packing meals for needy families, Holocaust survivors, and Russian senior citizens.
A congregant came in terrified, reporting he had been assaulted by a man on his way to Jewish services.
“He arrived late. He was shaking. Someone hurled racist obscenities at him “- Rabbi Notik “The cops were fantastic. We thank God for his mild injuries. No one was seriously wounded.”
The same individual allegedly travelled a block and sprayed hate symbols on a Jewish high school’s cargo container. Overnight, police were called to another Jewish school in the vicinity.
Over the weekend, there were six instances. Officers are questioning an individual of interest but have not stated if the acts are linked. The cops believe this guy is behind some, if not all, of the weekend crimes.
Charges may take longer to file due to the amount of evidence and the nature of a hate crime.
Alderwoman Debra Silverstein of the 50th Ward has been alerting neighbourhood businesses.
He added, “Hate has no place in our community and we will not allow it.” “The community is upset and worried. We look to the cops.”
In response to the incidents, Rogers Park Mayor Lori Lightfoot met with rabbis and other Jewish organisations Monday night.
On Saturday, a window of Kol Tuv Kosher Foods and the front door of Tel-Aviv Kosher Bakery were damaged. Walter Richtman was enraged.
“Whoever did it must recognise we are all God’s people,” he stated. “We demand equal treatment.”
All three incidences occurred in or near the 2900 block of West Devon Avenue, a Jewish-heavy neighbourhood, only days after Holocaust Remembrance Day.
“This is now the American Jewish experience,” stated ADL’s David Goldenberg. “I can’t imagine walking into a synagogue without passing an armed security guard for services.”
Between 2016 and 2020, the ADL reports an 84% increase in Midwest anti-Semitic incidents.
“Goodness is the way to fight hate and darkness,” Rabbi Notik remarked. “With optimism and kindness. So light it up!”
“We won’t be scared,” Richtman stated. “We won’t run. We’ll stand. Things will continue. We’ll be more alert. We’ll keep an eye out but won’t change our course.”
In the synagogue, the rabbi said there are cameras all around the building, but they didn’t catch the crimes.
The Alderman said police are looking for video evidence from nearby businesses.
LORI E. LIGHTFOOT’S FULL STATEMENT
That a local synagogue, school, and businesses were vandalised with anti-Semitic symbols breaks my heart. These atrocities surely contribute to the disturbing surge in anti-Semitism in our community and across the country. Make no mistake: this attack, like prior anti-Semitic attacks, targets our city’s Jewish community and social fabric. Those culpable must be punished. The cops have made an arrest and are gathering evidence. As Chicagoans and Americans, we must condemn hate speech and protect our Jewish brothers and sisters who face bigotry every day. Anti-Semitism will survive without our joint resolve. The bigots who cause and profit from hate must be expelled from our communities.
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