Alabama police investigating two separate synagogue vandalisms during Passover

The two incidents occurred within 24 hours of each other in the city of Huntsville.

By Algemeiner Staff

Police in Alabama were on Monday investigating cases of anti-Semitic vandalism that occurred at two separate synagogues during the ongoing Passover holiday.

The two incidents occurred within 24 hours of each other in the city of Huntsville. Anti-Semitic epithets and symbols were found scrawled on the Etz Chayim Synagogue, a Conservative congregation of about 60 families in South Huntsville on Thursday morning, following the first night of Passover, while a similar outrage was discovered on Friday morning at the Chabad of Huntsville.

Huntsville police later released surveillance footage of an individual wanted in connection with the incidents. The images showed a man wearing a tracksuit and ski mask and holding a spray can.

Huntsville police chief Mark McMurray told a news conference on Friday that the incidents were being treated as hate crimes rather than “criminal mischief,” as a result of an amended hate crimes law passed by the Alabama state legislature last year.

“Quick message to the person who did this,” McMurray said. “We’re asking you to go ahead and turn yourself in.”

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Huntsville Mayor Tommy Battle told the same news conference that he had immediately contacted the synagogues to express his sorrow and condemnation.

“We do not condone this. We are not that community,” Battle said.

“We will protect our own — the rabbi, his family and the synagogues throughout this community, because that’s what this community is about,” Battle pledged.