Swastika Drawn on Synagogue Property in Indiana

by Avi Abelow

A $2,500 Reward is being offered for information leading to an arrest in the swastika and Nazi graffiti at Shaarey Tefilla Synagogue in Carmel, Indiana. Anyone with tips should call the Carmel Police Department at 317.571.2500.

Anti-Semitic Graffiti

Shaarey Tefilla members found two massive Nazi flags and two Iron Crosses spray-painted late Friday night on a brick structure on the property of their Congregation. Shaarey Tefilla is located in Carmel, not far from Indianapolis.

The synagogue’s Rabbi Benjamin Sendrow said Sunday in a statement, “We are deeply disappointed in the horrific vandalism that occurred at our Congregation.”

“Intolerance, hatred, and violent acts against Jews are significant realities today,” he said. “The response to this heinous act affirms that America is collectively outraged at these hateful acts in our neighborhoods.”


Carmel Mayor Brainards said that “I want to assure the Congregation Shaarey Tefilla and all of our residents that our Carmel Police Department is already investigating this incident and when apprehended, those responsible will be held accountable.”

Israeli Diaspora Affairs Minister Naftali Bennett also condemned the anti-Semitic vandalism.

“I want to express my support to the Jewish community in Indiana, where a swastika was painted on the wall of a synagogue. We are united in condemning this despicable attack. I thank the local authorities and US Vice President Mike Pence for their support,” Bennett said.

Growing Anti-Semitism

For decades after the holocaust, public displays of antisemitism or statements were taboo. However, over the past decade it seems that antisemitism is no longer taboo, nor on the right nor the left. It is now even acceptable to publicly voice antisemitic views, especially when it comes to Israel.

This is a fairly new/old reality that the Jewish people are having a hard time learning to accept.

For thousands of years, Jews lived with antisemitism, whether with the support, or the blind eye of the authorities. They just had to suffer, even when it was murder and pogroms, without any consequences for the perpetrators.

Finally, after the Holocaust,  Western society made antisemitism an unacceptable behavior, with certain consequences in certain places. This made an impact on less overt antisemitism in those Western countries. However, today it seems that that situation no longer exists. Public displays of antisemitism are growing once again, both on the left and the right.

VP Pence and Antisemitism

Just last week, VP Pence warned that religious persecution could exist in free and democratic societies as well as in authoritarian societies.

“While religious freedom is always in danger in authoritarian regimes, threats to religious minorities are not confined to autocracies or dictatorships,” Pence told government officials from 80 countries at the Ministerial to Advance Religious Freedom in Washington, D.C. “They can, and do, arise in free societies, as well — not from government persecution but from prejudice and hatred.”

The Vice President noted a rise in religious intolerance in Europe.

“Just 70 years after the Holocaust, attacks on Jews, even on aging Holocaust survivors, are growing at an alarming rate,” he said. Pence cited a record high last year in attacks on British Jews, and warnings of Jewish leaders in France and Germany not to wear kippahs.”

Dr. Risch

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