Oregon Synagogue Defaced with Anti-Semitic Graffiti

Congregation Ahavat Achim in Portland, OR.

Congregation Ahavat Achim in Portland, OR was defaced with anti-Semitic graffiti.

The jarring ring of an early morning phone call is an expected hazard of the job if one is a congregational Rabbi. But the call received this morning by Rabbi Michael Kaplan of Portland’s Congregation Ahavat Achim was especially disturbing, informing him of anti-Semitic graffiti sprayed on the side of his congregation. “Although I knew what to expect” said Rabbi Kaplan in a note to the community “I was horrified when I pulled into the parking lot and saw it for myself.” The street facing side of the century old Sephardic congregation was defaced with a black swastika and the words Oboma (sic) is  666.  

Rabbi Kaplan told reporters that “his synagogue is the most prominently placed of any in Portland, making it an easy target”.

While such sentiments are unusual for Oregon, they are not unheard of.  Just last month TMR reported on AMZ, a Film Production company out of Bend, Oregon that produces anti-Israel propaganda. The owner of the company, Jesse Locke has expressed support for anti-Semitic slurs and has posted a disturbing photo of himself openly sporting a full SS Nazi uniform.

Jesse Locke of AMZ productions in Bend, Oregon.

Jesse Locke of AMZ productions in Bend, Oregon.

Today’s incident was merely a small reminder of the fortune we share with our brothers and sisters around the globe.

Rabbi Kaplan connects the assault on his synagogue to current events.  “These are dark times” said Rabbi Kaplan “There have been nonstop attacks on Jews in Israel for close to a week now. Today’s incident was merely a small reminder of the fortune we share with our brothers and sisters around the globe.” He added that ” If nothing else, we must stand with them against the hatred they face on a daily basis. We may not be able to offer physical protection, but should not underestimate what a show of support can accomplish.”

Rabbi Michael Kaplan of Cong. Ahavat Achim in Portland, OR.

Rabbi Michael Kaplan of Cong. Ahavat Achim in Portland, OR.

Rabbi Kaplan noted that since the graffiti was discovered he has received an outpouring of support from the local community, both Jewish and non-Jewish. While saddened by the hatred sprayed on the wall of his synagogue, the Rabbi said “I then thought about all the people I met since arriving at the synagogue, those who came to help and the others who came to commiserate. They were busily on their way to work but had to stop to say something. It pained them to see someone else’s hatred scribbled on the wall of our sanctuary. It was these people who made this day a cause for celebration. Those who were able to use their love to drive out this message of hate – and I am so thankful for them.”

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