Temple Beth Shalom vandalized with anti-Semitic graffiti, Spokane Police looking for suspect

Temple Beth Shalom Vandalized

SPOKANE, Wash. — Temple Beth Shalom was vandalized Monday morning, spray painted with swastikas and anti-Semitic graffiti.

Spokane Police are working to identify the suspect — a white man was captured on surveillance on the side of the building that was defaced. He was wearing blue jeans, black boots, a dark hooded jacket, a dark beanie, black gloves and a red mask with sunglasses.

Rabbi Tamar Malino told 4 News Now a white power symbol was also painted on a front window.

“It’s horribly upsetting and frightening for sure to know that there’s that much hatred out there of people in our community and to see it expressed that way,” she said. “We are always wary in our building knowing that there are folks out there who don’t like us very much.”

Malino said this happened about five years ago, but thinks this time it was more aggressive.

“Big, bold red writing on the outside of the building is really different from a small chalked image near the roof on the interior courtyard,” she explained.

The temple is always concerned about security. It used to have security and police at every big event before the pandemic hit.

She has a message for the person responsible for the hate crime.

“I would want that person to really take a good interior look at themselves and realize that all human beings are created in the divine image,” Malino said, “and there’s no reason to hate one more than another no matter what their race or creed is.”

Local leaders and police officials are also speaking out.

“This action is reprehensible. There is no place for hate-mongering in our community,” said Police Chief Craig Meidl. “SPD takes this crime very seriously and is committed to doing everything possible to arrest the person or persons responsible. We will always stand with those who are the target of hate and bigotry.”

Mayor Nadine Woodward issued the following statement in the wake of the hate crime:

“Spokane is a community that welcomes different faiths and protects the ability of people to practice those beliefs safely and freely in their places of worship. The symbols and writings are disgusting and desecrate a place of worship and a memorial to those whose lives were lost during a hateful time in world history. The Spokane Police Department has dedicated numerous resources to the investigation of this hate crime. We speak on behalf of the community when we say this type of hate and divisiveness in our community will never be tolerated.”

Anyone with information on the incident or suspect is urged to call Crime Check at (509) 456-2233.