A Jewish community in California is angry and terrified after their synagogue was vandalized with antisemitic leaflets.
At about 6pm on Wednesday, police got a call from a member of Shalom le Israel Messianic Synagogue in Carmichael, Sacramento, saying she found the temple’s menorah covered in Nazi literature.
According to the synagogue’s rabbi, Boris Tsiprush, the leaflets bore phrases like “Aryan Nations” and “Hitler was right.”
“It’s really a serious incident,” Mr Tsiprush told The Sacramento Bee. “These are some elders who are afraid someone might shoot up the place.”
Police say they’re investigating the incident, and are treating it as a hate crime. No suspect has yet been identified.
“This is a place where people should feel safe,” Sgt Rodney Grassmann of the Sacramento County Sheriff’s Office told KCRA. “When they go in their place of worship, everyone should feel safe.”
Sadly, Rabbi Tsiprush says, this is not the first time the synagogue has been vandalized. In the past, he says, a trailer in the temple’s parking lot has been set on fire, the building itself has been broken into and flooded, and a sign has been changed to read “Death to Israel.”
Just two weeks ago, at least 10 homes in the neighbourhood received bags of rice containing “Aryan Nation” leaflets inside, bearing swastikas. Some of the bags were also left in the playground of a local elementary school.
Police say they don’t know yet whether that incident is connected in any way to the vandalism at the synagogue.
“It certainly is being looked at,” Sgt Grassmann told the Bee.
Mr Tsiprush says some of his congregants are planning to stay home from this Saturday’s services because they’re afraid there might be violence at the synagogue. But he’s been urging them to show courage in the face of intimidation.
“I’m not afraid,” the rabbi said.
Police have asked the public for help solving the case.
“Sheriff’s Office detectives are asking for anyone with information regarding this incident to contact us at 916-874-TIPS (8477), Communications Center 916-874-5115 or email us at Online Tip Form, you may remain anonymous,” the Sheriff’s Office said in a statement.