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Chabad of Flagstaff building site vandalized

Rabbi Dovie Shapiro posted this photo on Facebook March 28, showing the community’s response to vandalism at a Chabad of Flagstaff building site. “The people of Flagstaff have hearts of gold — and silver — Thank you for all the love!” he wrote, tagging the post “#thisisflagstaff #movingbeyondhate #jewishflagstaff #lightoverdarkness #chabadflagstaff.” (Facebook)
Chabad of Flagstaff’s Molly Blank Jewish Community Center is slated to open this summer.

Chabad center being built in Flagstaff was broken into and vandalized sometime between late afternoon on Friday, March 22 and 7 a.m. on Monday, March 25. Crude swastikas were drawn in black paint on the windows and carved into the walls of the Molly Blank Jewish Community Center, which is expected to open this summer. Supplies and equipment belonging to the construction company were damaged. The Flagstaff Police have been investigating the incident as a hate crime, the Arizona Daily Sun reported.

“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,” Rabbi Dovie Shapiro said on Facebook the day after the attack was discovered. “It is an indisputable reality: when light and goodness encounter darkness and hate, light and goodness will — without fail — prevail.”

ADL Arizona is “horrified by images of damage and vandalism at Chabad Jewish Community Center of Flagstaff construction site over the weekend,” said Regional Director Carlos Galindo-Elvira. “Targeting a premises being built for community and religious use is simply beyond the pale. We are thankful to the Flagstaff Police Department for swiftly being on the scene and investigating this hate incident. We also appreciate the statement issued by Flagstaff Mayor Coral Evans condemning these actions. We extend our support and solidarity with Rabbi Dovie Shapiro, congregants, and the entire Flagstaff Jewish community.”

The Flagstaff community responded by attaching messages of love and support to the chain-link fence at the building site for the Chabad of Flagstaff JCC. In addition, more than 150 people, including the mayor, attended Chabad of Flagstaff’s “Shabbat of Unity” dinner on Friday,
March 29.

“Many people have asked how they can help,” said Shapiro, announcing a fundraising campaign set up at Seventy-seven  people donated to the fund as of Tuesday morning, raising more than $6,100.