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“It’s OK To Be White” Stickers Put On North Carolina Jewish Synagogue

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A man clad in dark clothing plastered stickers with the phrase “It’s Okay To Be White” on a Jewish temple in North Carolina twice in three days, according to police and the temple’s leadership.

Now they’re asking for help identifying him.

The man doesn’t appear to be connected to anyone at Temple B’nai Sholem in New Bern, Temple President Carla Byrnes told McClatchy News after the police department posted a flier on Facebook seeking the public’s assistance on Wednesday.

Police described him as an “unidentified white male” who tried to get into the building before putting the sticker up. He’s seen wearing a dark hoodie and pants in images captured by security footage, which wereshared bypolice.

A representative from the New Bern Police Department did not immediately respond to a request for comment from McClatchy News. But without knowing his motive, Byrnes said the vandalism has not been deemed a hate crime.

The stickers showed up overnight in January, she said.

Temple leadership was first alerted by neighbors on Jan. 2 through Facebook messenger, Lili Stern-Bacon — a member of the congregation who helps run the temple’s Facebook page — told McClatchy News.

The first was found on an information box to the left of the temple’s entryway, prompting Byrnes to call the police. Two days later, she said a second sticker showed up on the window to the right of the entrance. 

Bacon, whose family has been members at B’nai Sholem since 1983, said this is the first incident “of this kind” that’s been directed at the temple.

Temple B’nai Sholem dates back to the 19th Century, according to its website, and its congregation is about 127 years old. The vandalism “shattered” their “cocoon of innocence” — however “stupidly innocuous” the words were, Byrnes said in a quarterly newsletter for congregants. 

“Our congregation is almost all white,” she told McClatchy.

After events at other places of worship, Byrnes said the temple started employing police during services. They’re now “stepping up patrols of the building,” according to the newsletter. 

In the meantime, Byrnes urged congregants to be vigilant.

“The best thing we can do is not to be intimidated and to attend temple. That is winning,” Byrnes said in the newsletter. “This whole incident breaks my heart. We thought we would be safe in America and nothing could happen to us here. But with the rise in antisemitism, the oldest hatred is new again.”

Source:https://www.newsobserver.com/news/state/north-carolina/article24042