Texas Governor Greg Abbott quickly responded to a second synagogue being attacked by anti-Semitic vandals in San Antonio. The attack comes only days after hateful graffiti and other acts of vandalism terrorized another nearby Jewish community.
“Today’s second instance of anti-Semitic vandalism in San Antonio is an offensive and disturbing attack on people of all faiths.” Gov. Abbott stated in written statement obtained by Breitbart Texas referencing the latest anti-Semitic and racially-motivated vandalism at Congregation Agudas Achim. “Religious discrimination has no place in the State of Texas and I have faith that law enforcement spearheading this investigation will redouble their efforts to swiftly bring those responsible to justice.”
Early Monday, August 17, Rabbi Jeffrey Abraham of Congregation Agudas Achim told the San Antonio Express-News they discovered “Jew Jew” spray-painted on a storage shed behind the synagogue. Property was also missing from the premises.
Congregation Agudas Achim is located less than three miles away from the other synagogue, Congregation Rodfei Sholom, the site of last week’s pronounced anti-Semitic attack perpetrated upon approximately 30 homes, city structures, and vehicles as well as the Jewish house of worship, which Breitbart Texas reported.
Agudas Achim Executive Director Linda Moad explained to the Express-News that a maintenance worker found the ethnic slur “Jew Jew” sprayed onto the shed around 10 a.m. and he also discovered that two grills were missing.
“I was already disgusted by what happened at Rodfei Sholom last week,” said Abraham, who is the spiritual leader over a Jewish congregation that has been a part of the greater San Antonio community since it was formally founded in 1889. Today, the synagogue serves about 550 families and it is the second largest congregation in San Antonio, according to the rabbi.
Abraham also told the Express-News: “This hits a little closer to home because it’s at my synagogue. I am just saddened that people would stoop to this level to try to break our community.”
This anti-Semitic incident incurred less damage but was no less serious a hate crime than last week’s vicious attack at Congregation Rodfei Sholom in the northwest community. In that incident “KKK,” “Jew!,” and swastikas were among the inflammatory slurs and hate symbols splattered on property. Smashed car windows were among the other acts of vandalism committed. It was deemed a hate crime by law enforcement.
On August 16, the Jewish Press reported that one suspect was identified as a “person of interest” in the Rodfei Sholom crime wave, but authorities have yet to release the name.
KSAT-12, the ABC affiliate, reported the FBI, the San Antonio Police Department, and Texas Rangers are working together in that investigation.
“We will investigate this case until we find who is responsible for this heinous act of hatred. We will turn over every stone to investigate,” said Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) spokesman Chris Combs.
Late last week, FBI Special Agent Michelle Lee announced that the agency would pay $5,000 for information leading to the identification and arrest of the individual responsible for the Congregation Rodfei Sholom vandalism.
Since then, Councilman Ron Nirenberg, State Senator Jose Menendez (D-San Antonio), and the San Antonio Crime Stoppers raised funds to bring that award to $11.500 for information leading to the Rodfei Sholom vandals, according to the Express-News.
This second anti-Semitic attack caught the residents off guard. San Antonio Jewish Federation community Relations director Judy Lackritz expressed her dismay that this occurred on the heels of the Rodfei Sholom incident.
“We appreciate that law enforcement are taking it seriously in both cases. We are so heartened at the outpouring of support we have received throughout the city from all different religious groups,” she said.
Follow Merrill Hope on Twitter @OutOfTheBoxMom.