Grand Rapids Jewish temple hit with anti-Semitic graffiti

Temple Emanuel in Grand Rapids | Nick Manes

A Jewish synagogue in Grand Rapids was the target of anti-Semitic graffiti over the weekend.

The graffiti at Temple Emanuel on East Fulton Street was found Sunday morning. Rabbi Michael Schadick declined to share the specific nature of it with the Advance, citing concerns of copycat incidents.

Rabbi Michael Schadick

A notice from the Jewish Federation of Grand Rapids said the messages were posted on entrances to the temple. Sunday evening marks the first night of the Jewish holiday of Sukkot.

Sunday school and other planned activities at the temple continued without interruption, according to the Jewish Federation.

“Our Jewish community is stronger together,” the Jewish Federation said in a statement.

The graffiti appeared to have been removed from the building when an Advance reporter visited on Sunday afternoon.

A spokesman for the Grand Rapids Police Department confirmed that an incident report had been filed, but said an investigation was still underway and declined to share further details pending the completion of the investigation, likely on Monday. 

The 1950s-era Reform Jewish temple has been noted for its Modernist-style architecture.

Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh after the October 2018 shooting | Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf photo, Flickr

Last month, Temple Jacob in Hancock in the Upper Peninsula was defaced with Nazi symbols, the Associated Press reported. The graffiti was found the same day as the Parade of Nations, a “community-wide event that includes a parade and a multicultural festival,” according to AP.

The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) recorded 1,879 anti-Semitic incidents nationally last year, a 105% increase over the previous year. That’s largely due to the terrorist attack at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh that left 11 people dead. 

Of the 1,879 incidents in 2018, 1,066 were cases of harassment, an increase of 5% from 2017; and 774 were cases of vandalism, a decrease of 19% from 952 in 2017, according to the ADL. 

Nessel has received violent, anti-Semitic threats over Catholic Church investigation

Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel, who is Jewish, has also reported receiving anti-Semitic threats since taking office at the start of the year.

Nick Manes
Nick Manes covers West Michigan, business and labor, health care and the safety net. He previously spent six years as a reporter at MiBiz covering commercial real estate, economic development and all manner of public policy at the local and state levels. His byline also has appeared in Route Fifty and The Daily Beast. When not reporting around the state or furiously tweeting, he enjoys spending time with his girlfriend, Krista, biking around his hometown of Grand Rapids and torturing himself rooting for the Detroit Lions.

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