Support pours in for temple where hateful posters found

Grand Rapids

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Messages of support are being sent to Temple Emanuel in Grand Rapids after anti-Semitic messages were posted at the Jewish synagogue over the weekend.

Two posters were found taped to the doors of the temple around 8 a.m. Sunday.

“Not sure what their (the vandals’) outlying goal is, but certainly it’s of concern at the Grand Rapids Police Department,” GRPD Sgt. John Wittkowski said Monday. “We don’t tolerate any sort of behavior (like this), nor should the community.”

It isn’t, Temple Emanuel Rabbi Michael Shadick said. He told News 8 that his email inbox is full of messages of love.  

“We are heartened by the fact that churches and members of the community who we know and those that we don’t know have called and emailed and lent their voices in support,” Shadick said.

Grand Rapids Mayor Rosalynn Bliss called the rabbi to condemn the acts.

U.S. Rep. Justin Amash, the congressman for the area, took to Twitter, writing, “We are united against any effort to harass or intimidate the congregation of Temple Emanuel or any of our Jewish brothers and sisters.”

Similar messages have been shared by local pastors and imams.

The posters were immediately taken down, but police confirm that one showed a photo of Adolf Hitler with the words, ‘Did you forget about me?’ The second read, ‘A crusade against Semite led subhumans’ and had swastikas on it.

“Individuals that attend this temple are rightfully concerned,” Wittkowski said.

Police are investigating the apparent hate crime. They dusted for prints at the scene.

There is a camera above the doors, but the rabbi says it was not working when the posters were put up. It is now recording.

Temple services are continuing as scheduled. The Jewish holiday of Sukkot is underway this week and worshipers’ energies are being focused on that.

“I’m hoping that the voices against hatred will continue and that when someone either sees something or hears of something, they will not be shy to speak out,” Shadick said. “Because our community is a very, very special place and I would hate to think that a few anti-Semites or a few people that we don’t even know are going to continue to do these kinds of things.”

If you have any information about who may be responsible. If you have information, you can reach out to GRPD at 616.456.3400 or Silent Observer at 616.774.2345.

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