Police are investigating a swastika that was discovered Tuesday morning scrawled at the entrance to Hebrew Union College in Cincinnati, one of the foundational institutions of Reform Judaism.
“I think the placing of a swastika on a street sign, when we compare the events going on around the world, makes our little sign quite a minor nuisance rather than comparing it to events that have gone on all around our country and certainly around the world,” said associate dean Ken Kanter, discussing the incident with local radio station WVXU.
Staff at the college reported the incident to the Cincinnati Police, which arrived on the campus, erased the swastika from the sign and launched an investigation into the matter. Authorities are said to be reviewing surveillance video for evidence.
Hebrew Union College has several campuses scattered throughout the United States and Israel, but the Cincinnati plant is where the institution was first launched in 1875, by Reform Judaism founder Isaac Mayer Wise. It was home to pivotal events in the movement’s history, including the Trefa Banquet, in which non-kosher food was served at a graduation ceremony and triggered a fierce debate among rabbis.
Since the November victory of President-elect Donald Trump, there has been a noticeable spike in hate crimes, many of them including anti-Semitic vandalism directed at Jewish institutions and public spaces.
Daniel J. Solomon is the former Assistant to the Editor/News Writer at the Forward. Originally from Queens, he attended Harvard as an undergraduate, where he wrote his senior thesis on French-Jewish intellectual history. He is excited to have returned to New York after his time in Massachusetts. Daniel’s passions include folk music, cycling, and pointed argument.