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Statue Outside Washington State Shul Defaced With Swastika

Vandals spray-painted a swastika on a statue outside the 75-year-old Temple Beth Hatfiloh in Olympia, Washington.

In a blog post on the Reconstructionist congregation’s website, Rabbi Seth Goldstein wrote, “a swastika is not mere vandalism-it is a symbol of hatred with deep resonance with Jews, and shakes us to our core, especially in a community in which we are constantly reminded of our minority status.”

The Olympia Police Department is investigating the incident as a hate crime. The statue was created by artist Simon Kogan.

Goldstein, who has been at the temple for 13 years, told The Olympian news site that the congregation has been vandalized before, but this is the first time he knows of that vandals have used a swastika.

He said people from the state capital’s other houses of worship have offered their support since learning of the incident.

In his blog post, Goldstein wrote that “in the face of hatred, we must continue to do what we always do: to live our lives as Jews out loud and in meaningful ways, to commit ourselves to our Jewish community and to Jewish continuity, to engage with our greater community, to perform acts of social justice and to stand up for those who are similarly oppressed. It is in this way that those who seek to marginalize us, those who seek to threaten us, those who seek to inspire fear in us will not succeed.”

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