An antisemitic death threat was discovered written in yellow paint on the outside of Congregation Beth Israel in Portland, Oregon on Monday morning.
Several fires were also set in front of the sanctuary, leaving scorch marks, Oregon Live reported.
Staff from the synagogue said that the phrase “Die Juden” (“The Jews” in German) was painted on the building. But in this case, it appears that “die” was meant in the English meaning – as in “death” – and not in the original German meaning of the word.
Rabbi Michael Cahana called the graffiti a “death threat” and said it was found on the synagogue’s exterior front wall only four days after Holocaust Remembrance Day.
“It’s easy for us in Portland to think this doesn’t happen around here. That we’re free of antisemitism and hate speech, but the reality is it’s very much a part of our world,” Rabbi Cahana told the news outlet. “It’s very much of a part of the Pacific Northwest.”
Rabbi Cahana spoke to security professionals and to the police and is confident that the congregation is safe. He added that he doesn’t want to see the community fearful but cautioned them to be aware and vigilant against antisemitism.
The marks left by fires found on Monday were located on the side door and the entryway for the main entrance. They seem to have been started between Sunday evening and early Monday morning.
A report has been filed with Portland Police, the FBI’s hate crimes division and the Security Community Network, the safety and security organization of the Jewish community in North America.