Ugly red spray-paint conveyed hateful anti-Semitic messages on the outside walls of the centuries-old Nidhe Israel Synagogue in Bridgetown, St. Michael, the capital of Barbados early Friday morning, the Nation News website reported.
But by the time reporters got there, it was already being scrubbed down and cleaned up.
The synagogue, built in 1654 and located on Synagogue Lane, was destroyed in 1831 by a hurricane. It was rebuilt and renovated by the Barbados National Trust.
It is also the only synagogue in Bridgetown, and is oen of the oldest synagogues in the western hemisphere.
The synagogue has gone through many changes, however: it was deconsecrated in 1929, for a start. The women’s balcony was converted to a full second floor, and the lovely arches around the windows, and the original floor was replaced. The Jewish cemetery outside became a dumping site.
In 1983, the building was seized by the Barbados Government, and two years later was turned over to the Barbados National Trust in response to a petition by the local Jewish community.
In 1986, Paul Altman led a new renovation that resulted in the building’s use once more as a synagogue, though it remained under ownership of the National Trust.
Nidhe Israel Synagogue was designated in 2011 as a UNESCO site within the World Heritage Site of Historic Bridgetown and the Garrison area, along with a mikva dating back to the 1600s that was excavated next to the building in 2008. The Nidhe Israel Museum was opened that same year, in 2008.
The site quoted synagogue spokesperson Martin Steinbok as saying he “believed the culprit or culprits were deranged.”
Security cameras were subsequently installed to “detect any future attacks,” according to the report.