A Capitol Hill neighbor took things into his own hands after anti-semitic graffiti was found Friday morning near 14th and Union on the property of Temple De Hirsch Sinai.
UPDATE 2:30 PM: SPD’s Arson and Bomb Squad was called to the synagogue around 1 PM after a box was found outside the temple and reported to police. After photographing and investigating the item, police determined it was harmless and reopened the area around the temple’s 16th Ave entrance. The box, it turns out, contained a donation of old history books. Police said they were acting out of an “abundance of caution” following the graffiti found Friday morning and a string of threats against religious and community centers.
“I just met with the leadership of this temple a few days ago,” SPD Chief Kathleen O’Toole said at the scene Friday during the investigation of the package. “With all that is happening nationally and with the graffiti issues here, we want all of the people in our communities to feel safe.”
O’Toole said she was attending the mayor’s proclamation of Irish week in Seattle when she heard about the suspicious package investigation. “I was out and about and said, gee, I’m going to head there myself and try to reassure them that we’re here with them and that we take these cases very seriously.”
Robert Merner, assistant chief in charge of investigations, said his department has been visiting with area groups including Temple De Hirsch Sinai over concerns about national threats. He also had some advice for anybody considering dropping off a box of old books – call ahead.
Original report: CHS arrived to find the neighbor covering the spray painted message with a message of his own painted on a bed sheet and taped to cover the wall. The neighbor told CHS he felt compelled to cover the graffiti because he didn’t want the message of one bad person to take on greater significance and reflect poorly on his new neighborhood.
An official at the scene declined to comment until he had an opportunity to talk with others at the temple about any messages the synagogue wanted to share about the incident. Continue reading