National | Religion & Jewish Life

Grounds of Boston-area synagogue vandalized

BOSTON (JTA) — The grounds of a suburban Boston synagogue were vandalized.

Congregants of Temple Sinai in Sharon, about 25 miles south of Boston, discovered graffiti of unidentifiable defacing symbols splashed over the large Star of David in the pavement near the synagogue’s front entryway as they arrived for Friday night Shabbat services. The Sharon Police Department is investigating.

Two similar markings made with a sticky liquid substance were found in the plantings in the mulch beds on either side of the building, according to a police department statement posted on its Facebook page, along with photos of the vandalism. The town has a sizable Jewish population and is home to several synagogues.

“While these markings were easily removed with soap and water, we imagine that their presence may remain in your minds, hearts and spirits,” synagogue president Cindi Crutchfield wrote in an email to congregants and shared with the Jewish Telegraphic Agency.

Crutchfield offered congregants support from clergy, as well as from mental health professionals who are temple members.

In an earlier email, Rabbi Joseph Meszler encouraged congregants to attend religious services and synagogue programs planned for the weekend.

“We will share in a prayer for strength when faced with adversity: Am Yisrael Chai – the Jewish people lives,” the rabbi wrote. “This is not only a chant of defiance but also a statement that we should continue to lead our lives fully, without fear.”

Speaking to JTA, Robert Trestan, regional director of the New England Anti-Defamation League, said: “Synagogues are increasingly becoming ground zero as anti-Semites continue sending messages of hatred to Jews.”