Law enforcement agencies in Massachusetts and New Hampshire are investigating three incidents where swastikas were found last month.
In Portsmouth, N.H., at least 10 swastikas were found on buildings in the city on Feb. 21 – including a red swastika and a cross that was painted at the entrance of Temple Israel. New Hampshire’s attorney general is investigating the incidents.
“We take the safety and security of our community seriously and will continue to run our services and programs as planned, although with increased vigilance,” Temple Israel’s rabbi, Kaya Stern-Kaufman, and president, Robert Zimman, said in an email to congregants.
In North Andover, the school district received a report about a swastika drawn on a shower wall at a Lawrence hockey rink after the high school’s team used the facility. In a letter to the school community, North Andover Superintendent Gregg Gilligan and North Andover High School Principal Chet Jackson wrote that they had contacted the police.
“Please know that as a school community, we do not tolerate any acts of discrimination against religion, national origin, race, color, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, disability, homelessness, or age,” Gilligan and Jackson wrote.
The school leaders added: “We are committed to maintaining a school environment, including school sponsored events, that are free of discrimination. Words and symbols of intolerance and hate are wrong, unacceptable, and should not have a place in our society.”
In a statement, Rabbi Idan Irelander of Congregation Ahavat Olam of North Andover condemned the hate incident. “It is sad that we keep witnessing different forms of antisemitism. We shouldn’t have to remind people to not be antisemitic. This incident can and should be an opportunity for education and growth. I am grateful that school officials are taking this matter seriously,” he said.
Meanwhile, west of Boston, Dover police are investigating a swastika that was drawn in dirt on a Jewish student’s car at the Dover-Sherborn High School last month.
“Our hearts and our resolve go out to the student who had to suffer this assault on their sense of safety, identity, and belonging – and to all members of our community who live with the risks that antisemitism represents,” Superintendent Beth McCoy said in the statement. Θ