Holding Antisemites Accountable.

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Vandals Deface Pennsylvania Synagogue with Antisemitic Hate Speech

The Jewish community in Center City Philadelphia is on edge after police say two women spray painted hateful messages in front of a historic synagogue earlier this week.

Surveillance video from Temple Beth Zion-Beth Israel shows two women with stencils spray painting the sidewalk on 18th and Spruce streets Sunday night.

The phrases used are a known threat to the Jewish community.

“You should never feel unwelcome in your home or in your community,” said Lynne Balaban, the synagogue’s executive director.

Balaban says she came to work Monday morning to find the graffiti.

“Oh, it’s horrifying. it’s an invasion and we felt violated,” she said.

She says she called police and had staff black out the writing so the families walking by wouldn’t be subject to the hate.

“We’re tired. We’re exhausted of being targets. We’ve had bomb threats. We’ve had the spray painting. We’ve had posters put on street poles around us,” she said.

Balaban says this hate will not stop her community.

“We’re going to continue to be doing what we’re doing. We’re going to continue to be here, we’re going to continue to do our work, we’re going to continue to practice our Judaism, and we’re going to continue to go about our lives, because otherwise they win and we can’t let that happen,” she said.

Philadelphia police detectives are investigating. Police say if they can find those responsible, they’ll likely face charges including ethnic intimidation.