MANDEVILLE - Vandals spray-painted a swastika and anti-Semitic messages on the wall of the Northshore Jewish Congregation in Mandeville.
The graffiti was spotted on the afternoon of September 5, and is thought to have been put there either earlier that morning or at some point during the night before, according to the Mandeville Police Department.
Two swastikas were drawn on the wall, one in black paint and one in red, with a red cross appearing just below the black swastika.
“Synagogue of satan” and “14/88” were also written on the wall, along with what appears to be the word “burn” partially written out.
“The Mandeville Police Department is taking this incident very serious and we are actively investigating this case as a potential hate crime until proven otherwise,” Police Chief Gerald Sticker said in a press release. “Detectives have reached out to our surrounding law enforcement partners as well as confirmed with our victim, that at this time, there have been no other similar incidents at other area synagogues.”
Jewish Federation of Greater New Orleans CEO Arnie D. Fielkow and Federation Board Chair Henry Miller released a statement on the incident, saying “our community remains unified in opposition to white supremacy. Hate for one is hate for all, and as such, we condemn all forms of bigotry and discrimination.”
“This odious act of anti-Semitic vandalism invoking white supremacist ideology comes at a time when we, as a society, are seeing a significant rise in anti-Semitic incidents - there was a 77% increase in anti-Semitic incidents last year alone," Anti-Defamation League Regional Director for the South Central Region Aaron Ahlquist said. "Hate of any kind must not be normalized, thus we hope that the entire community roundly condemns the vandalism at the Northshore Jewish Congregation. As part of that effort, ADL is offering a reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the perpetrator or perpetrators of this crime.”
Rabbi Gabriel Greenberg, Chair of the New Orleans Clergy Council, said the entire Jewish community "stands together with our brothers and sisters at the Northshore Jewish Congregation."
House Majority Whip Steve Scalise issued the following statement on the vandalism:
"Hatred and bigotry have no place in our society. This cowardly act of anti-Semitism is disgraceful, and I hope the criminal who perpetrated it is brought to justice. I am proud to stand with the good people of the Northshore Jewish Congregation, and I know they will not be intimidated by this hateful act."
Anyone with any information about this crime is asked to call the Mandeville Police Department at (985) 626-9711 or Crime Stoppers at (504) 822-1111.