This weekend’s deadly attack at a synagogue in Pittsburgh has the country focused on anti-Semitism.
According to the Anti-Defamation League, the nation saw a 34% increase in hate crimes against Jewish people in 2016. There was a 57% increase in 2017.
“It’s not acceptable, it’s wrong,” said Jewish Federation of Greater Rockford president Sherry Dreyfuss. “It’s wrong.”
In the aftermath of the Pittsburgh attack that left 11 dead — anti-Semitism hits closer to home. Tuesday, Coronado Performing Arts Center employees arrive to find swastikas on theater windows.
“Everyone within Rockford has to know that this is unacceptable,” said Dreyfuss. “Not only to the Jews, the Jewish people find it reprehensible, but the rest of the community.”
Rabbi Binah Wing is the leader at Temple Beth-El. She says the best way to continue to fight any hatred is together with love — no matter the religious background.
“Sometimes that means calling out hate speech when we hear it,” said Wing. “Even when it’s said in a veiled form or it’s said in a joke.”
Rabbi Wing adds one of the most important things their members can do is to continue their Jewish values — despite any fear they might feel.
“The people that hate Jews would be delighted for us to disappear,” explained Wing. “One of the ways we need to fight it is by continuing to show up.”
Dreyfuss agrees. She says despite the attacks against their community, their members will unite and continue to worship because they know they’re not alone in this journey.
“We were comforted by knowing that the people around us, not necessarily of our faith, our race, were with us,” added Dreyfuss.
The substance did not cause any damage to the Coronado’s windows. Rockford Police Chief Dan O’Shea called the Nazi graffiti inflammatory in nature and says whoever is behind it will be held responsible.