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Seattle synagogue hit with hateful graffiti. Here’s why they left it visible


Vandals spray-painted anti-Semitic messages on a well-known Seattle synagogue Sunday night.

Police have ruled the graffiti at Temple de Hirsch Sinai a hate crime, and are now asking for the public’s help to identify the suspects. SPD has obtained video footage of suspects in the synagogue’s courtyard the night the crime took place.

The graffiti portrays anti-Israel and anti-Jewish messages. The timing of the crime added to its painful message — Tuesday marked Yom HaShoah, Holocaust Remembrance Day.

Temple leaders discovered the offensive graffiti Monday morning and briefly covered it up. Then, rabbis decided to leave the vandalism visible to the public.

“I think it’s very important for the community, and particularly the Capitol Hill community, which people assume to be so politically progressive and embracing of diversity, it’s important that people understand that these toxic tendencies run deep,” Rabbi Daniel Weiner said.

Rabbi Weiner said something similar happened six years ago. At that time, and in other instances where regional faith facilities have been defaced, he says the Jewish community showed their unity and resistance to hate.

He hopes people do the same now.

Weiner said temple staff will paint over the graffiti soon, but for now it stands as a reminder. The synagogue brought in area youth and artists to paint over previous graffiti and the rabbi said they’ll do something similar this time.

“It’s not going to be excessive to paint over this,” Weiner said, “but I think the mark upon our communal soul and consciousness is going to run deeper than just a few gallons of paint.”

The Anti Defamation League said people should speak up and take action when they encounter anti-Semitism.

The synagogue will go forward with community events this week, including a discussion Friday with Democratic U.S. Rep. Kim Schrier.

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