The Washington Hebrew Congregation D.C. building was targeted by vandals, who painted graffiti on its walls bearing “anti-Israel and hate-filled messages.”
The Jewish Community Relations Council (JCRC) of Greater Washington shared the news on its Facebook page on Friday, along with the Jewish Federation of Greater Washington.
The two groups stated that they were in close contact with their partners at the Secure Community Network, and they were informed that “there is no immediate or direct threat to our community as a result of this disturbing incident.”
Metropolitan Police Department of the District of Columbia has launched an investigation into the attack, according to the statement, which continued:
“As we enter Shabbat and the final days of our Fall holidays, let us remember that although we cannot outlaw hate, we must and will continue to send a strong message to the community that these hateful expressions will not be tolerated. We must continue to come together as a community to reject hate in all of its forms. Federation and the JCRC remain committed to ensuring that our synagogues and other area institutions are safe and open to all who wish to gather for worship and celebration.”
DCist reported that the graffiti in question included “numerous anti-Semitic statements, profane language, and child-like drawings of male and female genitalia” and was drawn in black permanent marker on the building’s rear doors and bricks.
The graffiti was reportedly discovered by a temple security guard as he was watching surveillance camera footage a week after the vandalism took place.
The incident is being treated as a “potential anti-Jewish hate crime” in the investigation, according to DCist, which attributed the information to a police report.
Washington Hebrew Congregation was formed in 1852 in Washington, D.C. and is one of the largest Reform congregations in the country with more than 3,000 members. It is also a member of the Union for Reform Judaism.
The synagogue recently came to the public’s attention because of a lawsuit linked to allegations of sexual abuse at its preschool. It was claimed by the families of eight students that the school permitted the repeated abuse of children, who are three and four years old.