Vandals scrawl ‘Hitler’ on New York City synagogue

Rabbi finds graffiti on outside wall of Brooklyn’s Congregation Beth Shalom, as antisemitic crime rate remains high in city

Luke Tress is an editor and a reporter in New York for The Times of Israel.

Antisemitic vandalism on the wall of a New York synagogue, August 17, 2022. (Courtesy)
Antisemitic vandalism on the wall of a New York synagogue, August 17, 2022. (Courtesy)

NEW YORK — The word “Hitler” was painted onto the wall of a synagogue in New York City on Wednesday.

Rabbi Asher Altschul found the graffiti on Congregation Beth Shalom of Kingsbay in Brooklyn early in the morning, said local New York City councilwoman Inna Vernikov.

“There are Holocaust survivors who attend this shul and after the atrocities they have seen during World War II, they now have to come to a synagogue in the United States of America in 2022 and see a Hitler sign on the wall,” Vernikov said.

Images from the scene showed the Nazi dictator’s name scrawled on a brick wall in white paint.

The Anti-Defamation League said it was “absolutely appalled” by the antisemitic graffiti, and that the NYPD’s hate crimes unit was investigating the incident.

The Flatbush Shomrim neighborhood watch group said its volunteers had removed the graffiti “so people should not have to see it and live in fear.”

Also on Wednesday, New York State Governor Kathy Hochul condemned antisemitic leaflets that have been distributed in residential areas in the region.

“I am incredibly disturbed by recent incidents of antisemitic harassment on Long Island and across the country. This disgusting and hateful rhetoric has no place in our society,” said Hochul, who has fostered ties with New York’s Jewish communities and supported Jewish causes.

Antisemitic incidents in New York City have spiked in recent years. Jews are consistently the group most targeted in hate crimes on an annual basis, with the ADL reporting a record-high number of incidents last year.

The NYPD has confirmed 149 anti-Jewish hate crimes between the start of the year and June 28, representing an incident every 29 hours on average. Incidents range from violent assaults to racial slurs and property damage, and many more likely go unreported.

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