‘We are not going anywhere’: Rabbi speaks out after synagogue vandalized
TAUNTON, Mass. (WLNE) — The Congregation Agudath Achim synagogue, located in Taunton, has been standing for about 113 years. It was a target of violence on Friday when a suspect spray painted it with anti-Semitic words and symbols.
Mija Almeida, president of the congregation told ABC 6 News, “My reaction was not really shock because none of us believed it would not happen. I was angry and sad.”
Rabbi Coleman Reaboi, a son of Holocaust survivors, explained how he arrived Saturday morning to open the doors for a Bat Mitzvah when he spotted the anti-Semitic symbol on the front of the synagogue.
“I was walking in from across the street and I could see the Swastika, it was badly spray painted underneath our Pride flag — I was in shock, I was disappointed, I was angry,” said Reaboi.
Reaboi explained how the synagogue should be a house of prayer for all people, but at the same time, ensuring the safety of their congregants takes precedent.
“The stats are not good, not only in the country but also in Massachusetts where there have been around 200 acts of hate in the span of two years — probably even more so than that,” Reaboi said.
Despite the hateful act, Reaboi said the synagogue will not let the incident deter them from being who they are.
“The overarching and most important thing is that the congregation is strong — we are not going anywhere, the LGBTQ, the African-American community, they are strong. We are not going anywhere. Ultimately, we will be the winners,” Almeida said.
Reaboi delivered a strong message to his community with hope for the future following the vandalism.
“This was an act of hate that has come to our city and to our community. We cannot bow to the face of hate and fear. We have to go on and we will maintain our services and events and we will eventually overcome this,” said Reaboi.
Taunton police told ABC 6 they have identified the suspect but they have not yet been located.