Police Investigate Defacing of Synagogue in Spokane, Washington With Antisemitic Daubings

County courthouse in Spokane, Washington. Photo: Ian Sane / Wikimedia Commons

Police in Spokane, Washington are investigating a hate crime after swastikas were daubed on a synagogue in the city’s South Hill neighborhood on Monday morning.

Spokane police spokesperson John O’Brien said the Temple Beth Shalom reported the antisemitic graffiti at 9:20 a.m. on Monday. When officers arrived at the building, they found one side of it, along with a Holocaust memorial, vandalized. O’Brien said officers spoke to employees, canvased the neighborhood for surveillance cameras and looked for evidence. Officers also collected paint samples from the building for evidence.

The synagogue’s surveillance camera system captured images of a lone white, male suspect. O’Brien said the man was wearing blue jeans, black boots, a dark colored jacket with hood, a dark colored beanie style stocking cap, black gloves, a red mask and sunglasses on his head.

Police are investigating the vandalism as malicious harassment and it falls under Washington’s definition of a hate crime.

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February 9, 2021 4:12 pm

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“Our community is in shock and in grief, and trying to be strong,” said Rabbi Tamar Malino, who has served at Temple Beth Shalom for five years, told the local CBS affiliate.

“It’s very difficult to know that there are people that hate you that much for being Jewish and have intention of expressing that,” she added.  “It’s very important for our community to continue living meaningful strong and Jewish lives and not be afraid to continue being who we are.”

This is the second time in recent years that Temple Beth Shalom has been vandalized. In 2014, a swastika was painted on a concrete wall during a service on Yom Kippur, the holiest day of the year for the Jewish community.

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