Carmel synagogue defaced by anti-Semitic graffiti
CARMEL, Ind. – Authorities in Carmel are investigating after anti-Semitic graffiti was found Saturday at a synagogue.
A garbage shed at Congregation Shaarey Tefilla, located in the 3000 block of West 116th St., was spray painted with a Nazi flag and other symbols.
Corey Freedman, the President of Congregation Shaarey Tefilla, believed it happened late Friday night into Saturday morning. He said surveillance video did catch the act and more than one person is behind the vandalism. It was difficult for him to see the graffiti because his in-laws are survivors of the Holocaust.
“I don’t quite understand why people have that level of hate or believe sharing those symbols in the way they did is beneficial to anyone,” said Freedman.
Since learning the vandalism, Congregation Shaarey Tefilla said they have focused on working with the Carmel police, communicating to their congregation and working with Indianapolis Jewish Community Relations Council and Jewish Federation of Greater Indianapolis to communicate to other congregations and other Jewish agencies.
On Sunday, members of the community and other synagogues shared their feelings about the vandalism.
“As a community, we ought to be better than this,” said Heidi Wernicke, a resident in Fishers. “Everyone deserves safety and security, especially in their place of worship.”
“It’s important to remember 12 million lives were lost during the Holocaust and 6 million of them were Jews,” said Cantor Aviva Marer with Indianapolis Hebrew Congregation.
Indiana is one of five states without a hate crimes law. A representative with Indianapolis Jewish Community Relations Council said their organization has been fighting to pass hate crime laws for the past three legislative sessions.
Mayor Jim Brainard released a statement saying:
“I strongly condemn the actions of those responsible for defacing a structure at the local Congregation Shaarey Tefilla in Carmel. There is no place for this kind of hatred in Carmel and it does not reflect the respectful and welcoming nature of the vast majority of our residents who come from many different cultural and faith backgrounds.”
He continued, “As we are reminded each year during our city’s Holocaust Remembrance Ceremony, we must never forget and never stop fighting against the hatred that led to the murder of 6 million Jews. These images that represent the ideas that led to those crimes are not reflective of what our City stands for.”
Mayor Brainard said when apprehended, those responsible will be held accountable.
Shaarey Tefilla Rabbi Benjamin Sendrow released the following statement:
“We are deeply disappointed in the horrific vandalism that occurred at our Congregation,”
“Intolerance, hatred, and violent acts against Jews are significant realities today. The response to this heinous act affirms that America is collectively outraged at these hateful acts in our neighborhoods.”
There will be a community gathering at 6pm Monday night at Congregation Shaarey Tefilla. The Carmel Police Department is investigating so if you know anything please call 317-571-2500.