Anti-Semitic graffiti mars monument near Madison synagogue

September 21, 2017

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — Police are investigating after anti-Semitic graffiti including swastikas was spray-painted on a monument near a historic synagogue in Wisconsin’s traditionally liberal capital city.

The graffiti was discovered Wednesday on the monument next to the Gates of Heaven Synagogue building in James Madison Park in Madison.

Executive director Dawn Berney of Jewish Social Services of Madison says she’s “horrified,” but that “xenophobia is everywhere, even in Madison.”

Berney told the Wisconsin State Journal that the graffiti was particularly disturbing because Wednesday was the start of Rosh Hashana, the Jewish new year. The graffiti has since been cleaned off.

Wisconsin Attorney General Brad Schimel and Wisconsin U.S. Rep. Mark Pocan, whose district includes Madison, condemned the attack.

The Gates of Heaven Synagogue was built in 1863 and served Madison’s first Jewish congregation.