Philadelphia-area shul sees swastika in second incident of vandalism

Gov. Josh Shapiro said Pennsylvania State Police are coordinating with local law enforcement to apprehend those responsible.

A red swastika was found spray-painted on Temple Beth Hillel Beth-El in Wynnewood, Pa., on Sunday, marring on a sign that reads “Our Community Stands With Israel.” The sign was next to another one advertising Camp Shemesh, a summer program for kids.

“We, the Jewish people, have unfortunately known hatred like this for generations,” said the congregation’s Rabbi Ethan Witkovsky. It was the second time in as many weeks that the sign in the Philadelphia suburb was vandalized.

Wynnewood is home to a sizable Jewish population, including the visibly Orthodox. It is adjacent to the Main Line borough of Narberth, Pa., which two weeks ago had the words “Free Gaza” scrubbed off a brick wall next to the Israeli-owned kosher restaurant Nana’s Kitchen & Catering.

CNN anchor Jake Tapper, who grew up in the area and attended Jewish day school there, posted online about the vandalism, noting that he had his bar mitzvah at the Conservative synagogue.

Pennsylvania Gov. Josh Shapiro, a Democrat who went to the same day school as Tapper, said he spoke with Witkovsky about the vandalism.

“These acts of hate will never change the fact that no matter what you look like, where you come from, who you love, or who you do and don’t pray to, you belong here in Pennsylvania,” Shapiro wrote on X.

He added that Pennsylvania State Police are coordinating with local law enforcement to apprehend those responsible.

Rep. Madeleine Dean (D-Pa.) wrote on social media that “no one should be using Nazi symbols in 2024. We must find the people responsible and hold them accountable for this dangerous display of hate.”

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