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Jewish Woman Confronts Retired Pastor After She Catches Him Drawing Swastika on Her Groceries

A Jewish mother in West Hollywood, California confronted her neighbor after he was caught drawing a swastika on her grocery bags.

In a video shared Monday on social media, Leah Grossman approaches her neighbor, Mark Nakagawa, after her front porch camera catches him scribbling a symbol on a box of seltzer sitting on Grossman’s doorstep and returning to the scene.

“Is there a problem?” she asks him before directly asking if that’s “a Nazi symbol” on her groceries.

“No, I’m just walking by here,” Nakagawa, a retired pastor and former District Superintendent for the United Methodist Church, tells Grossman in the video shared by nonprofit group StopAntiSemitism.

Grossman informs Nakagawa that she saw him and has a camera. 

“What is that? What did you draw there?” she asked again.

Nakagawa continued to deny any knowledge of what happened or what the symbol is.

Grossman told KCAL News that the incident happened in December, shortly after she says Nakagawa called her a “fascist” in a homeowner’s association meeting after she hung the Israeli flag on her balcony following the October 7 Hamas terrorist attack.

Retired pastor Mark Nakagawa was caught on camera drawing a swastika on his Jewish neighbors groceries in West Hollywood.
StopAntisemitism
Leah Grossman confronted Nakagawa when she caught him.
StopAntisemitism

Nakagawa claimed Grossman actually called him a fascist at the community meeting. He admitted to drawing the symbol.

Nakagawa said “he was trying to educate Grossman about the history of [the swastika] as a Buddhist symbol of love,” and he “did not know how Grossman would react toward the drawing,” according to KCAL.

“The way I went about it, in hindsight, the way I went about it was not the right away to go about it. It was bad judgment on my part. I realize that,” Nakagawa confessed to the local news outlet.

Nakagawa was a prominent leader in the United Methodist Church until last year, serving as its West District Superintendent from July 2016 to July 2023. Before that, he served as senior minister for two UMC churches in the Los Angeles area for over 22 years, according to his LinkedIn.

The United Methodist Church said it was “saddened” to learn of the incident and “does not condone any form of hatred or discrimination.”

“Our community was saddened to learn over the weekend about an incident in December involving one of our retired clergy and former District Superintendent, Mark Nakagawa. The California-Pacific Annual Conference does not condone any form of hate or discrimination. We are committed to loving our neighbors, fostering an inclusive and respectful environment for all, and nurturing interfaith relationships in our communities,” a UMC statement read.

Grossman said the turmoil in the Middle East has caused antisemitic incidents to surge in the United States.

“… I think people feel really emboldened to push Jewish people around. People just shouldn’t get away with this,” she told KCAL.

https://nypost.com/2024/03/07/us-news/jewish-woman-confronts-retired-pastor-after-she-catches-him-drawing-swastika-on-her-groceries/