Police are investigating after witnesses said a man who reportedly called himself a “Jew hater” drove to a Detroit-area synagogue, yelled antisemitic slurs at two people outside the building and threw a pair of work gloves at one of them.

The incident in Oak Park, Michigan began at about 9 a.m. on Thursday, when police said in a statement that a white man “with thick dark hair and a long dark beard” driving a Chevrolet SUV pulled into the parking lot of Congregation Beth Shalom. At the time, Alicia Nelson and her husband, Rabbi Emeritus David Nelson, 85, were stopping by his synagogue office, and Alicia had stepped out to enter the building.

According to the Detroit Jewish News, the driver of the car then yelled at Alicia, “How are you doing, baby killer?” and yelled “F—ing b—tch!” as he drove away from the synagogue parking lot and parked in the lot of a nearby early childhood center.

Another Jewish woman, an employee of the synagogue, soon pulled into the synagogue parking lot, whereupon the driver returned.

“So as he saw her pull up, he pulled up next to her and shouted something about Palestinians and Gaza and said, ‘I’m proud to be a “Jew-hater” and threw something at her,” Alicia Nelson told Fox 2 Detroit. David Nelson added, “He wanted a second shot at somebody who was Jewish.”

The Nelsons told Fox they could tell the object was soft, and Oak Park Public Safety said in its statement that the object the driver threw was a pair of work gloves wrapped in plastic.

The altercation is the latest in a string of antisemitic incidents since the outbreak of the Israel-Hamas war on Oct. 7 that have targeted Jewish institutions. Synagogues have been vandalized and hit with a rash of false bomb threats in recent months.

But a synagogue leader also warned against making too much of the incident.

“We have been trying to keep this from becoming more than it is, which is basically some nut in a car screaming out of his window,” Howard Fridson, president of Congregation Beth Shalom, told the Detroit Jewish News. “It’s unfortunate that the situation in the world has given rise to these sentiments, but we know they are out there. I hope this is the end of it.”

Oak Park Police Lieutenant Ryan Bolton told the Detroit Free Press that the investigation did not suggest the suspect explicitly mentioned Gaza or Palestinians.

City Manager Erik Tungate condemned the incident.

“There is no room for instances of hate or violence in our community and I am proud of how diligently our Public Safety team works to ensure safety for everyone in Oak Park,” he said in a statement. “Our diversity is our greatest strength and we will continue to protect it.”

The Nelsons said that though they weren’t physically harmed, the incident was upsetting.

“We were not physically accosted, we were not physically threatened,” Alicia told Fox 2 Detroit. “That’s certainly something that we have to say, ‘thank God.'”

David added, “It’s very, very disconcerting and tragic. It’s more antisemitism than I’ve seen in my entire life, and I’m not young.”