Amid riots, synagogue in Kenosha, Wis., vandalized with ‘Free Palestine’

August 28, 2020 by Jackson Richman - JNS
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A synagogue in Kenosha, Wis., was vandalized during demonstrations and riots on Thursday morning.

The words “Free Palestine” were spray-painted on the driveway of Beth Hillel Temple in Kenosha, Wis., on Aug. 27, 2020. Source: Screenshot.

A reporter for the right-wing news site Townhall posted a video of a Black Lives Matter activist spray-painting the words “Free Palestine” on the driveway of Beth Hillel Temple, a Reform synagogue.

The vandalism took place amid the protests and riots in Kenosha since a black man, Jacob Blake, 29, was shot seven times in the back by police on Sunday as officers attempted to apprehend him over a dispute. Blake is in critical condition, his lawyer told NPR.


The synagogue’s leader, Rabbi Dena Feingold, felt the vandalism wasn’t representative of the protests.

“We are advocates for justice for all oppressed people. We support the movement for black lives, and we know that one person with a can of spray paint does not speak for an entire cause,” she told JNS. “We pray for Jacob Blake and decry the vigilante murders that took place a block from our synagogue two nights ago. Our call is for justice and peace in our community and around the world.”

On Wednesday, the Jewish Community Relations Council of the Milwaukee Jewish Federation expressed solidarity with the black community and called for unity.

“We believe that all must stand united to rid our communities of systemic racism and its toxic effects because it puts black lives at risk, including black and brown Jewish lives, and harms us all,” the organization told JNS in a statement. “Our pursuit of justice is guided by the Jewish principle of pikuach nefesh, which places the sanctity of life above all else. Government policies, practices and policing must be guided by this shared value.”

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