In wake of anti-Semitic incidents, Arizona faith leaders form coalition

After two Tucson synagogues were vandalized in a short time span, religious leaders decided to form a coalition to combat Jew hatred.

Dan Verbin ,

Arizona Flag in Monument Valley
Arizona Flag in Monument Valley
iStock

In the wake of multiple anti-Semitic incidents in Tucson, Arizona, local faith leaders came together Thursday at the Tucson Jewish Community Center in a show of solidarity against anti-Semitism and religious-based hatred.

The new coalition said that they were united in a common vision to stop hate in Tucson, reported KVOA.

"There will be challenges to the conversation," Sat Bir Kaur Khalsa told the news outlet. "One of the first steps is to build a resilience in learning how to talk with each other, to listen to each other. Hear each other with respect. I also would say, don't wait for the faith leaders and community leaders to do this. Meet your neighbors."

Their first meeting comes in the aftermath of two synagogues being defaced in a short period of time.

On June 7, Chabad on River in Tucson was vandalized with a red swastika painted on its door. Underneath the swastika, also in red, was written the phrase “Dirty K***.”

The two pieces of graffiti appeared to have been sprayed on the door in separate instances over a two day period.

On May 18, a boulder was used to smash the glass door of Congregation Chaverim.

Arizona Rep. Alma Hernandez, who is a member of the synagogue, tweeted a photo of the damaged door with a crying face emoji.

“I’m a complete mess in tears as I write this. I just got off the phone with my rabbi our synagogue was vandalized. Someone (threw) a rock at our glass door. This was NOT (an) accident! I feel numb."

Rabbi Sara Metz of Congregation Anshei Israel was hopeful about the inter-faith meeting.

"We don't have to finish the task, but we have to start it," he told KVOA. "We cannot desist from it either, and that is the best work that we can do. We have hope, we have love and we have strength in unity."



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