Temple Beth Shalom Vandalized with Swastikas
Spokane Police confirmed Monday morning that swastikas were spray painted on the front of the Temple Beth Shalom building. The synagogues’s Holocaust Memorial was also defaced.
A white power symbol was also painted onto the property.
This isn’t the first time the synagogue has been vandalized. Swastikas were spray painted on the building in 2014 during the High Holy Days.
Surveillance cameras captured a white male wearing blue jeans, black boots, a dark jacket with a hood, a beanie and gloves with a red mask with sunglasses on his head. After canvassing the South Hill neighborhood near the synagogue, police could not find the suspect.
Mayor Nadine Woodward released a statement condemning the defacing of the synagogue.
“Spokane is a community that welcomes different faiths and protects the ability of people to practice those beliefs safely and freely in their places of worship. The symbols and writings are disgusting and desecrate a place of worship and a memorial to those whose lives were lost during a hateful time in world history. The Spokane Police Department has dedicated numerous resources to the investigation of this hate crime. We speak on behalf of the community when we say this type of hate and divisiveness in our community will never be tolerated.”
In a statement Chief of Police Craig Meidl said the act was “reprehensible” and that law enforcement takes hate crimes seriously. He added SPD stands with those who are the target of hate and bigotry.
Police are asking anyone with information to contact crime stoppers at (509) 456-2233.
Officials from Temple Beth Shalom were unavailable for comment.
Tracy Simmons is an award-winning journalist specializing in religion reporting and digital entrepreneurship. In her approximate 20 years on the religion beat, Simmons has tucked a notepad in her pocket and found some of her favorite stories aboard cargo ships in New Jersey, on a police chase in Albuquerque, in dusty Texas church bell towers, on the streets of New York and in tent cities in Haiti. Simmons has worked as a multimedia journalist for newspapers across New Mexico, Texas, Connecticut and Washington. She is the executive director of SpokaneFāVS.com, a digital journalism start-up covering religion news and commentary in Spokane, Washington. She also writes for The Spokesman-Review and national publications. She is a Scholarly Assistant Professor of Journalism at Washington State University.