Vandals spray paint swastika on Harrisburg synagogue

Harrisburg

HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) — A Harrisburg synagogue was the target of a hate crime after two swastikas were discovered spray painted on the front of its building.

Police believe Kesher Israel Congregation was targeted, because it appears that a stencil was used in the vandalism.

What the vandals might not have planned for is the outpouring of love for the Jewish community that followed.

“Any targeted group — just — they feel so vulnerable and lonely and in pain, and I just thought it was right to reach out as soon as possible,” said Rep. Patty Kim, (D) Dauphin County.

Kim said this is the most recent pain her district has seen, but not the first.

“This is serious, and the repercussions for what it does to a community is real. It’s raw,” she said.

While the wounds are fresh, Kim is supporting the synagogue, and she’s not alone.

“Reacting quickly, condemning the actions is very important to me, and I’m glad to see other elected officials joining me in that,” Kim said.

“We live by the edict that we should never see what happened in Nazi Germany again, and that means stamping it out,” said Congressman Scott Perry, (R) Dauphin, Cumberland and York County.

The Midstate’s entire interfaith community was also ready to get “stamping,” on Tuesday. More than a dozen congregations condemned the vandalism in a joint statement.

Rabbi Elisha Friedman expressed his gratitude in one of his own saying:

“The perpetrator(s) hoped to sow division and fear, but through the overwhelming outpouring of so many coming forward to express their support and friendship for our synagogue and the broader Jewish community, what was intended to divide and alienate us and make us feel unwelcome and scared, failed miserably and instead reminded us of what a strong and loving community we are part of.”

It’s a community that agrees on one thing — hate has no place in Harrisburg.

“We need to do that every time. Every time that happens,” Kim said.

“Everybody seems really polarized these days, and it’s good to know that we can agree on one thing,” Perry said.

Mayor Eric Papenfuse’s Interfaith Advisory Council will be holding a vigil for Kesher Israel Congregation at the synagogue on Wednesday at 5 p.m.

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