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October 1, 2016 / 28 Elul, 5776

Posts Tagged ‘swastikas’

Swastikas, Anti-Semitic Graffiti on Ukraine Synagogue

Friday, August 19th, 2016

The front doorway of a synagogue in Kolomia in western Ukraine was sprayed with a swastika and anti-Semitic slogans Thursday night, an official of the local Jewish community has told TPS. The official, Jacob Zlishiker, said the identity of the perpetrator is not known, and added that these things are routine in this city, and police are treating them very seriously.

The local Jewish cemetery also sustained some damage overnight.

The Kolomyia Synagogue graffiti / Photo credit: TPS

The Kolomyia Synagogue graffiti / Photo credit: TPS

Kolomia, which used to be the most developed city in the region before the war, boasted a large Jewish community, with about 19,000 Jews out of a general population of 43,000. The Jewish community was “culturally vibrant and complex,” influencing the Jewish culture of Galicia, according to the website Jewish Galicia & Bukovina. Before the war there were some 50 synagogues in Kolomia, among them the magnificent Hoiche Shul, a Yerushalmi synagogue, several Hassidic kloizes and even a Zionist synagogue.

In 1941, all of the Jews of Kolomia and its environs were concentrated in a ghetto that was divided into three separate sections. In 1942, these sections were burned and the entire population of the ghetto was annihilated: some were murdered in the city streets, others were taken to the Belzec extermination camp, and the rest were shot in the forest outside the village of Sheparivtsy, near the city.

A few dozen Jews returned to Kolomia after its liberation by the Soviet army and they continue to maintain a small community around the synagogue.

David Israel

Aussie Rabbi: Anti-Semitic Vandals ‘Damn Lucky’ He Wasn’t There to Catch Them

Tuesday, April 5th, 2016

The rabbi of an Australian synagogue covered with neo-Nazi symbols this past weekend returned after an “away” weekend to discover that anti-Semitic attackers defaced his shul and a nearby bus stop with swastikas.

Rabbi Yossi Friedman of the Maroubra Synagogue in Sydney, New South Wales issued a furious statement in response to the anti-Semitic attack last weekend by neo-Nazi thugs.

He told media in a statement on Monday, “It has literally ‘hit home’ for me, and I can’t stop thinking about it.” Friedman said he could “NOT be silent” about what he called an “assault on the Jewish People… What would drive a person to such deplorable action? Why such hatred?”

Synagogues are symbols of peace, the rabbi pointed out. They are places for people to reflect, to pray and meditate, where someone can become a better person. So “why deface them?”

There is “no place for such behavior in our society,” he said in his statement, quoted by Daily Mail Australia.

Regardless, Friedman said the Jewish People have suffered throughout their three and a half thousand years of history. They have outlived “cruel, fanatical despots and regimes.”

Ultimately, he had one message for the vandals, “I pity you. Your hatred won’t harm us – it will only consume YOU. So for your own sake, let it go.

“Oh … and one more message,” he added. “You were damn lucky that I wasn’t there to catch you.”

Spoken like a true Aussie.

Hana Levi Julian

NY School District to Pay $4.5 M for Ignoring Years of Anti-Semitism

Monday, July 13th, 2015

A lawsuit brought in 2012 by five Jewish students against the Pine Bush Central School District in Pine Bush, New York, ended late last week when a judge approved a settlement which requires the school district to pay out nearly $4.5 million and to significantly revamp its policies regarding anti-Semitism.

The five students suffered years of physical and verbal assaults, intimidation and harassment, sometimes right in front of school district administrators and personnel. For years the complaints made by the students and their parents were largely ignored or even ridiculed.

The students alleged that the school district and various officials within it violated their rights to an education free from national origin and/or religious discrimination under Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Equal Protection Clause of the U.S. Constitution and the New York Civil Rights Law.

The degradation suffered by the Jewish students (all of which happened within the past five years and it all happened in New York State, not the Middle East or Europe) included one student being pinned down while another tried to shove coins down her throat, being beaten with a hockey stick; swastikas scrawled on books, playground slides, walls, desks and even on the face of one of the Jewish students; holocaust “jokes”; threats to throw a Jewish student in an oven and Hitler salutes.

The Jewish Pine Bush students were called “disgusting Jew,” Jesus Hater, Christ Killer, “ashes” and “crispy” (Holocaust references) to name just some of the allegations raised in the Complaint.

These incidents took place during the past decade and they occurred in a schools district less than a two hour drive from New York City, not in the Middle East or in Europe.

Throughout their school years, the Jewish students suffered from trauma and other injuries. Several of the students were removed from the schools by their parents because the administration did little to nothing to ameliorate the situation. One student was home schooled because she became too traumatized to return to the Pine Bush schools.

When the lawsuit was first filed in 2012, one school official allegedly responded that the complainants’ “expectations for changing inbred prejudice may be a bit unrealistic.”

Three things happened in the past year that likely factored into the decision by the defendants to settle the case, after having initially claimed they had done all that was required of them in response to the complaints and incidents.

First, the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York signaled its interest in the litigation, announcing that it deemed the evidence was sufficient for a jury to find the defendants had not responded adequately to the discrimination.

Second, the U.S. District Court judge before whom the trial was set to take place had denied the defendants’ motion to dismiss the case, meaning that should the students be able to produce the evidence they claimed they had, a case would be made out for “severe and discriminatory harassment” by a fact-finder.

And third, the trial was about to begin. The settlement was announced late last month, shortly before the trial was set to begin, and the Judge presiding over the case approved the settlement (as two of the plaintiffs are still minors) last week.

The $4.48 million settlement requires payment of $581,803.80 to each of the five students, as well as $1,493,333 in legal fees and $77,648 for costs.

The school district also agreed to reform various policies including harassment, discrimination and bullying policies and to require investigation and documentation of reported harassment; impose “meaningful, consistent, minimum consequences” for harassment; implement monitoring for discriminatory harassment; and the training of staff to understand and implement these policies; and various other related changes.

Lori Lowenthal Marcus

Swastikas Spray-Painted in Lehavim

Monday, July 28th, 2014

Residents of the southern Israeli community of Lehavim awoke Tuesday morning to find eight vehicles spray-painted with swastikas.

Israel police have opened an investigation into the incident. There are no further details about who may have carried out the vandalism.

The incident may or may not have taken place against the backdrop of the developing intifada in the country. Lehavim is located near a number of Bedouin towns in the south but is also not far from the major city of Be’er Sheva.

Hana Levi Julian

Swastikas Carved into Walls at Florida College Housing UPDATE

Monday, April 28th, 2014

See UPDATE at the bottom of the article.

“The worst nightmare of any Jewish college student’s life” is how one student described what she experienced this past weekend, April 26-27, at an off-campus housing apartment complex right near the University of Central Florida, in Orlando.

The story began somewhat earlier, but without realizing there would be more, student A – a 21 year old social work student who does not want her name or other identifying information used, for obvious reasons – did not put the initial incident down to an anti-Semitic vendetta. Now she does.

Three weeks ago, A’s mezuzah was ripped off her doorway. The mezuzah was broken and left on the ground in her hallway. Then this week, after Shabbat ended, A was showing one of her friends who lives several floors below her what happened with her mezuzah. That friend then told her there was more to the story.

A’s friend told her that as he was walking in from the garage on his floor, he saw a swastika on the wall. And then he and another friend saw two more swastikas. They also had been carved onto the walls, apparently using a key to make the engraving.

The next morning, Sunday, April 27 – Yom HaShoah – as A walked around the off-campus apartment complex, she found another 5 swastikas carved into walls.

Altogether, A and her friends found nine swastikas carved into the walls of their off-campus housing site.

The timing is gruesome. For someone or several people to carve swastikas into walls is beyond the pale, but to do it during the weekend of Yom HaShoah is particularly henious.

Also, because this is finals week for UCF students, the anti-Semitic acts are in yet another way offensive. At a time when all students should be able to simply focus on their studies, and not on malicious religious threats, it has a triply anti-Semitic impact.

If there is a positive angle to this story, it is that A and quite a few of her friends reported the anti-Semitic graffiti to the housing complex management and to the local police. They are continuing to pursue avenues, hoping that the culprits are apprehended and dealt with appropriately.

“I was not about to sit here and pretend like this was a joke because I and many others did not take it as a joke” A told The Jewish Press.

The police told the concerned students that they cannot classify what happened as a hate crime because a specific person wasn’t targeted. The management of the apartment complex said because they have no cameras in the hallway they won’t be able to prove who did it. The management also told A and the other students who complained that it is just vandalism and ignorance.

But that is not how A sees what happened.

“I shouldn’t have to walk into my apartment complex and see something that makes me feel unsafe. I do not know if this person knows what these marks mean, but to me they show that this individual has some form of hatred and dislike for the Jewish people.”

A UCF sophomore political science major who observed the swastika carvings also was unwilling to put down the hate messages as mere vandalism.

Living in a college setting with a diverse student population, I would hope that students would have respect for religions and cultures. This depiction of a World War II image that truly affects Jewish students and students of other cultures who were negatively impacted by the tragedy of the Holocaust is horrifying.

The management of the building is clearing away the messages – the evidence of anti-Semitism. The messages may be removed, but dealing with it as if there is no hostile significance and failing to take the matter as a serious threat will only encourage more such acts.

Lori Lowenthal Marcus

Jewish Frat House Vandals Identified

Monday, December 9th, 2013

Pennsylvania State College police have identified two men who allegedly painted anti-Semitic slogans and swastikas on and around a mostly Jewish fraternity on campus.

The two men are white and college-age, the police said, according to the Centre Daily Time, and they face charges of ethnic intimidation, criminal mischief and disorderly conduct

The slogans and swastikas were spray-painted on the Beta Sigma Beta fraternity building, on cars parked outside the fraternity and on a dumpster early on Nov. 8.

Security cameras captured images of the vandals, but the men have not yet been identified publicly or charged.

JTA

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/jewish-frat-house-vandals-identified/2013/12/09/

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