Vandals hit synagogue again
December 8, 2004
Two new swastikas were found Wednesday at Temple Bat Yam in South Lake Tahoe., following the discovery Tuesday of anti-Semitic vandalism.
Police and the FBI are investigating the rash of vandalism after swastikas, and the words “Die Jew” were spray painted on the temple sometime between Sunday night and Tuesday morning, the first day of Hanukkah, a Jewish holiday.
A spokesman for the FBI was unavailable for comment Tuesday. Police said the investigation is ongoing.
“Our initial leads are still being explored. We have not identified a suspect at this time,” said South Lake Tahoe Police Department Lt. Martin Hewlett.
The first swastika found Wednesday is at the speed-limit sign adjacent to the South Lake Tahoe welcome sign at Lake Tahoe Boulevard and Airport Road. The second was discovered at the intersection of Takela and Lake Tahoe Boulevard.
Temple Bat Yam Rabbi Jonathan Freirich said he and synagogue members have received an outpouring or support from community members following the discovery of the vandalism, considered a felony hate crime.
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“The response from the community and their support has been overwhelming,” Freirich said.
Saturday, the synagogue will hold a rededication ceremony for all community members and clergy. The ceremony begins at 4 p.m., at 3260 Pioneer Trail.
Hanukkah, which means “rededication,” is an eight-day celebration that dates to 165 B.C., when the Holy Temple in Jerusalem was rededicated by Jews after being desecrated by foreign forces.
“In response to our vandalism, we will gather and are inviting all community members to rededicate our temple,” Freirich said.
The Anti-Defamation League’s San Francisco office has told Freirich it is preparing to announce reward money for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the perpetrators. To the reward fund, call the Anti-Defamation League at (415) 981-3500.
Caltrans informed authorities Wednesday that it would take between 10 days and two weeks to repaint the vandalized signs and utility boxes. In the meantime, city employees will do a temporary cover-up job, Hewlett said.