On March 10, an off-duty Seattle Police officer discovered a vandal had spray-painted "HOLOCAU$T I$ FAKE HI$TORY" on the outside of Temple De Hirsch Sinai on the eve of Purim. Later that morning, a neighbor temporarily taped up a bed sheet with "LOVE WINS" painted over it in a show of solidarity.
During a recent visit to the synagogue, I found that the hateful message had, thankfully, been painted over. On closer inspection, I noticed that some of the cover-up paint had dripped down the wall, almost as if it were weeping. But I noticed something else that inspired happier tears: Some neighbors had created a little memorial at the foot of the wall.
The memorial included messages of support, a candle, and bouquets of flowers, one of which stood in a makeshift vase with "NEVER AGAIN" printed on the front.
One card read:
Dear Jewish neighbors,
We are deeply saddened by the recent vandalism & threats against your community of faith.
Your community is in our hearts and prayers.
Your neighboring Muslim community
Another one that was ingeniously laminated read:
To my Jewish neighbors -
Let not this ignorant act of hatred distract you from the reality that you are valued, you are loved, and you are welcome in this community. The courage and suffering of your ancestors will continue to be honored, not forgotten. So much love to all of you during this difficult time.
- A Gentile
In a post on the synagogue's Facebook page, Rabbi Daniel Weiner expressed his gratitude:
"I felt very strongly that this was kept up on Friday when it happened as a way to document it and ensure the community understood the gravity of what happened," Rabbi Weiner said in a phone conversation.
Weiner said that members from the temple later painted over the hateful graffiti before Purim began.
"[It was an] expression of incredible, truly mind-blowing support," he said. "Our disappointment, hurt, and frustration has, in many ways, paled in comparison in the outpouring of support from the community. Most importantly, people wanted to remind us that the person who did this was in the minority."
After reading so many reports of threats and attacks against Jewish communities in Seattle and across the country, it's good to be reminded that there are folks resisting hate at home.