Pawtucket synagogue vandalized with anti-Semitic symbol

By Bianca Buono

bbuono@abc6.com

@BBuonoABC6

Pawtucket Police are searching for suspects after a swastika was painted on the sign for the Kollel Center for Jewish Studies outside the only synagogue in Pawtucket.

"It was very disturbing for both me and the members of the class I teach here in the morning. It brings back a lot of negative associations,” said Rabbi Raphie Schochet, the director of Providence Kollel.

The anti-Semitic Nazi symbol was drawn there sometime between 9 p.m. Saturday and 7 a.m. Sunday. It horrified the members of Congregation Ohawe Sholam, the only synagogue in Pawtucket.

"It just goes right to my heart because everybody in the congregation will have someone that they lost in the Holocaust,” said David Pliskin, the president of the congregation.

This isn’t the first time the congregation has been vandalized. A year and a half ago, someone drew Nazi symbols on a bus stop right in front of the synagogue.

"It’s an indication that there’s some sort of latent hatred. Someone in this neighborhood obviously doesn’t like us,” said Schochet.

Pawtucket Mayor Donald Grebien says he’s disgusted and this kind of hatred won’t be tolerated.

"It’s tragic that someone would stoop to this and it’s not going to be acceptable. So we talked about what our police enforcement was going to be. The police department’s been out there they’re trying to get all the different cameras and security video tapes,” said Pawtucket Mayor Donald Grebien.

As for the members of this Jewish community, they have no idea who’s responsible, but they say whoever it was knew what they were doing.

"The fact that the swastika is done correctly, most people will put it horizontally and vertical. That’s not the way it’s really done. Somebody knew how to make a swastika correctly,” said Pliskin.

Members of the congregation, along with Pawtucket city leaders, plan to take the sign down on Monday and have it replaced.

© WLNE-TV 2016