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Messing With Texas: Dozens of Cars, Homes Vandalized with Anti-Semitic Graffiti in San Antonio Jewish Community

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More than 30 cars and homes were tagged with hateful graffiti

SAN ANTONIO — Mark D. Wilson reports: A Jewish community on the North Side woke to widespread anti-Semitic vandalism Wednesday morning that included spray-painted swastikas, “KKK” lettering and other hateful slurs.

“This is where we walk our children for learning, for synagogue, where families congregate and gather to strengthen their relationship with God and with one another.”

— Winslow Swart, board member at Rodfei Sholom

“(We are) saddened and outraged,” said Howard Feinberg, a board member of the Rodfei Sholom Congregation, located near Northwest Military Drive and Huebner Road. “When we were finishing our morning prayers around 7 a.m., we became aware that in the neighborhood around our synagogue, there was a lot of graffiti of the anti-Semitic and racial nature.”

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Most of the graffiti was found painted on signs, cars, homes, fences and memorials on Sholom Drive and Sholom Place surrounding the Orthodox synagogue, which serves about 300 families, many of whom live nearby.

More than 30 cars and homes were tagged with hateful graffiti sometime overnight, according to the San Antonio Police Department.

An anti-Semitic crime has not been reported in San Antonio in the past two years, according to the Anti-Defamation League, a national group that tracks such incidents.

“This is where we walk our children for learning, for synagogue, where families congregate and gather to strengthen their relationship with God and with one another,” said Winslow Swart, another board member at Rodfei Sholom, over the hum of a pressure washer cutting through graffiti.

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The ADL reported a total of 912 anti-Semitic incidents in the United States in 2014, marking a 21 percent increase from 2013, according to the organization’s 2014 Audit of Anti-Semitic Incidents.

Rabbi Arnold Scheinberg said members of the congregation first noticed a car that appeared to have been broken into, then, they noticed the swastikas.

“Right away, we realized we had this vandalism,” he said, adding that at least one vehicle had a large rock thrown through the driver-side window.

Most of the graffiti was found painted on signs, cars, homes, fences and memorials on Sholom Drive and Sholom Place surrounding the Orthodox synagogue, which serves about 300 families, many of whom live nearby.

More graffiti was found in the Oak Meadow subdivision across Northwest Military, Feinberg said.

Dena Marks, associate director of the Anti-Defamation League, said that while anti-Semitic or racist graffiti is not out of the ordinary in the U.S., Wednesday’s neighborhood-wide vandalism seems to be larger in scale than what is normally reported.

[Read the full story here, at San Antonio Express-News]

The ADL reported a total of 912 anti-Semitic incidents in the United States in 2014, marking a 21 percent increase from 2013, according to the organization’s 2014 Audit of Anti-Semitic Incidents.

Last year, there were five total incidents in the ADL’s Southwest Region, which stretches from El Paso to Orange and south to the border, said Marks, who is based in Houston.

She said the ADL has recorded five incidents so far in 2015 in the region, which excludes Austin. The majority of this year’s incidents occurred in the Houston area.

While community members work to wash the hateful messages from their homes and property, Feinberg said they already have their eyes on the future.

“We are cleaning up and moving on,” he said, adding that he hopes those responsible will get help.

“We’d be happy to help you find it,” he said. “If you want to learn a little bit more about the people you hate, we could arrange that, too. (You could) learn more about Jews and people of color so you don’t just hate blindly.”

Kalman Drillick, a 19-year-old visiting from New York said youth gather at the synagogue to study religious texts in the morning, and often play basketball in the afternoon….(read more)

San Antonio Express-News

mdwilson@express-news.net

Twitter: @MDWilsonSA

 

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