By COLlive reporter
The new Chabad of Flagstaff – Molly Blank Jewish Community Center, which is currently being built in Northen Arizona, was vandalized with Nazi swastikas.
Police said the center was burglarized and damaged. “The damage caused appears to include hate symbols painted on the windows and marked on the walls,” they said.
The 12,500-square-foot community center is situated on a hill overlooking Flagstaff and Northern Arizona University (NAU) and will house a synagogue, social hall, gourmet kosher kitchen, library, offices, mikvah, classrooms and guest suites.
“We are shocked and deeply disturbed by this act of hate and are hopeful and confident that the police will handle this expeditiously,” said Rabbi Dovie Shapiro, Shliach and Director of the centers.
The Flagstaff Police Department said that during the investigation, officers observed damage to multiple rooms within the building. Vandals carved what appeared to be swastikas in the walls.
Additionally, several paint cans were smashed and dumped on the floors. Black paint from the floor was then smeared on the windows in a swastika-like pattern. During this incident, several power tools were also damaged.
Police said fingerprints and biological evidence swabs were collected for further investigation. The incident is being investigated as a “hate crime.”
“This incident is a sad reminder of the discrimination and anti-Semitism that still exists among some people,” Rabbi Shapiro said. “While it’s alarming and very disturbing, it will not deter us – to the contrary, this reinforces and motivates us more to do the important work we’re doing and continue teaching about unity and acceptance.
“We look forward to the day, G-d willing – not too far in the future – when construction will be complete, and we will open the doors of the new Molly Blank Jewish Community Center to be a welcoming place for all.”
Professor Björn Krondorfer, Director of the Martin-Springer Institute at Northern Arizona University, said: “The painting of swastikas on a synagogue leaves a clear message: You are not welcome here. With the echoes of the Holocaust, it is a sinister sign of intolerance. At a minimum, it is callous to the harm inflicted. We are better than this in our community. Please show your support.”
A cash reward is being offered by the Anti-Defamation League in the amount of $2,000 for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the individual or individuals responsible for the vandalism.
Moving Beyond Hate:
The Flagstaff Chabad Center has launched a campaign to help them secure sufficient funds for security and to continue to build a welcoming home in the community, where messages of unity, acceptance, and goodness will prevail.
Click here to donate now! Charidy.com/BeyondHate