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Rabbi says anti-Semitic vandalism on Carmel synagogue 'triggered an outpouring of love and support'

Posted at 11:53 PM, Jul 30, 2018
and last updated 2018-07-31 12:06:24-04

CARMEL, Ind. -- Hundreds of people from all different faiths gathered at a Carmel synagogue to show their love for the Jewish community after someone left hateful anti-Semitic graffiti on one of their buildings. 

The ground was burned and swastikas and iron crosses were painted on a shed and garbage bins at Congregation Shaarey Tefilla in the 3000 block of W. 116th Street in Carmel on Saturday. 

READ | Anti-Semitic graffiti found at Carmel synagogue

Rabbi Benjamin Sendrow says the graffiti may have been left to evoke fear, but as Monday night's gathering showed, it's had the opposite effect on their community. 

"(It) triggered an outpouring of love and support that wipes away their action better than bleach and fresh paint," said Rabbi Sendrow. "All they have done is awaken the sleeping giant of love and acceptance and mutual respect."

READ | Anti-Semitic incidents on the rise in central Indiana

But in the midst of love, those hateful messages also serve as a reminder that Indiana is one of only five states that doesn't have a hate crime law - something Gov. Holcomb and several other lawmakers vowed to fix in the upcoming legislative session. 

Lindsey Mintz, Executive Director of the Indianapolis Jewish Community Relations Council, says passing that law is more important now than ever, to "send a message."

"The state of Indiana from policy leaders on down will not stand for acts of hate based on bias," said Mintz."

READ | Gov. Holcomb to support hate crime law after Carmel vandalism

Synagogue leadership says the graffiti will not be cleaned off right away so it can be preserved as evidence as Carmel police and the FBI continue to investigate and follow all leads to find out who is responsible. 

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