National News

Ilana Glazer Event at Synagogue Is Canceled After Anti-Semitic Graffiti Is Found

Posted November 2, 2018 3:56 p.m. EDT

A security guard at the Union Temple, a synagogue in Brooklyn, on Friday, Nov. 2, 2018. A get-out-the-vote event at the synagogue featuring the comedian Ilana Glazer was canceled on Thursday night after anti-Semitic graffiti, including the words “Die Jew Rats,” was discovered scrawled on the temple’s walls, the police and officials at the synagogue said. (John Taggart/The New York Times)

NEW YORK — A get-out-the-vote event at a Brooklyn synagogue featuring comedian Ilana Glazer was canceled Thursday night after anti-Semitic graffiti, including the words “Die Jew Rats,” was discovered scrawled on the temple’s walls, police and officials at the synagogue said.

The vandalism, which is being investigated as a hate crime by the Police Department, jarred residents in a deeply progressive area of Brooklyn. It occurred on the heels of the mass shooting at a Pittsburgh synagogue last Saturday and a recent spate of similar incidents in Brooklyn and Manhattan.

On Friday afternoon, police released a photograph of a suspect, taken by a security camera inside the temple.

The event, at the Union Temple of Brooklyn on Eastern Parkway in Prospect Heights, was to include a question-and-answer session. Glazer, the star of “Broad City,” was scheduled to interview a journalist, Amy Goodman, and two candidates for the New York Senate, Jim Gaughran and Andrew Gounardes.

But shortly after 8 p.m., Glazer announced the event was canceled because the graffiti, written with a black marker, had been discovered in various locations inside the temple, which was built in 1929.

Rabbi Mark Sameth of Union Temple said he learned from the temple’s president that the vandalism was found soon after it happened.

“My first response was that it was sickening,” Sameth said. “It would have been sickening under any circumstances, but all the more so following the horrific tragic events in Pittsburgh.”

The Police Department’s Hate Crime Task Force is investigating the incident, police said. Other words written on the walls inside the synagogue included: “We are here,” “Hitler,” “Jew Better Be Ready” and “End it now,” police said.

The graffiti was found the same day as two swastikas were discovered spray-painted on a concrete pier near 72nd Street on the Upper West Side of Manhattan.

On Tuesday, several buildings in Brooklyn Heights were defaced with swastikas drawn in chalk, an incident police are also investigating as a hate crime.

Dermot Shea, chief of detectives, told reporters Wednesday that in the past month there has been an increase in “anti-Semitic hate crimes, particularly swastikas, on buildings in parts of the city.”

According to Police Department statistics, there have been 142 reported incidents of anti-Semitic graffiti in the city this year, up from 126 reports in 2017. Anti-Semitic incidents make up almost half the 290 hate crimes in the city reported to police this year.

Mayor Bill de Blasio condemned the vandalism Friday morning on Twitter. “This is the vilest kind of hate,” de Blasio wrote, adding: “We will fight anti-Semitism with every fiber of our being. The NYPD will find the perpetrators of this hate crime and hold them accountable.”

Sameth said he received calls of encouragement Friday morning from “members, nonmembers, Jews, non-Jews, people in Brooklyn, people outside of Brooklyn.”

“There is no question that the community supports all of the values that we support,” he said, “and we’ll get through these very, very difficult times.”