Chicago Loop Synagogue Vandalized With Swastikas, Broken Window - NBC Chicago

Chicago Loop Synagogue Vandalized With Swastikas, Broken Window

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    Chicago Loop Synagogue Vandalized With Swastikas

    Authorities have opened a hate crime investigation after a synagogue in downtown Chicago was vandalized early Saturday, according to police. NBC5's Emily Florez reports. (Published Sunday, Feb. 5, 2017)

    Authorities have opened a hate crime investigation after a synagogue in downtown Chicago was vandalized early Saturday, according to police. 

    Around 12:20 a.m., officers responded to a call at 16 S. Clark St. in the city's Loop, police said. 

    There they found that the front window of the Chicago Loop Synagogue had been broken and "derogatory stickers" were posted on the entrance. 

    Evidence technicians could be seen removing two swastika stickers from the front door.

    Photo credit: Network Video Productions

    Lee Zoldan, president of the the Chicago Loop Synagogue, said construction workers across the street witnessed the incident. 

    A black SUV pulled up, witnesses told Zoldan, and a passenger got out of the vehicle and used an object resembling a hammer or ax to break the window.

    The person then went back to the car and retrieved the swastika stickers to put on the door. 

    MY A.M. REPORT: A synagogue is the target of an overnight hate crime. The Chicago Loop Synagogue President explaining today that construction workers across the street saw the entire incident happen. They reported a black SUV pulled up to the synagogue on Clark around midnight, a passenger hopped out and shattered the window with some object (hammer/ax), then went back to the vehicle and returned to the synagogues front door to put swastika stickers up. A very intentional act. The synagogue president says they have not had any other threats leading up to this. Today is their Sabbath day so they plan to have services as usual, but they will discuss security measures for the future. They are working to gather surveillance video. Police are investigating this as a hate crime. Updates on @nbcchicago

    A photo posted by Emily Florez (@emilyflorez) on

    Saturday is the synagogue's Sabbath, Zoldan said, and services continued as usual beginning at 9:30 a.m.

    The synagogue has not received any further threats, she added, though the board will discuss what further security measures they will take in the future. 

    The American Jewish Committee, a national advocacy group, condemned the vandalism in a statement Saturday, saying it came amid a rise in incidents of anti-Semitism across the country.

    "The Chicago Jewish community will not be intimidated by anti-Semitic attacks on a house of worship," AJC Chicago director Amy Stoken said.

    "The right of all religious groups to practice their faith without fear is a fundamental American value. Chicagoans must speak together clearly that the hatred behind this destructive behavior will never be accepted," she added. 

    Cardinal Blase Cupich, Archbishop of Chicago, weighed in on the incident Saturday as well.

    "We stand with our Jewish brothers and sisters as they worship at Chicago Loop Synagogue this Sabbath. Hate will not prevail. #NeverAgain," Cupich tweeted.

    The Council on American-Islamic-Relations Chicago also denounced the vandalism, calling it "a shameful act of cowardice and hate."

    "Chicago's Muslim community stands in full solidarity with our Jewish brothers and sisters as they deal with the trauma of this vile act of hate," CAIR-Chicago Executive Director Ahmed Rehab said in a statement."No American should have to feel vulnerable and at risk simply due to their religious affiliation."

    "Unfortunately, we know the feeling all too well as mosque vandalism and burning has spiked recently in the US," Rehab's statement continued. "We recognize the source of hate as one, and regardless of religious affiliation, we stand together in solidarity against it as one. An attack on any is an attack on us all."

    No one is in custody, and authorities continue to investigate.

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