On Monday, August 10, two swastikas were discovered on the Kesher Israel Congregation building at 2500 North Third Street.
The Jewish Federation of Greater Harrisburg and its Community Relations Council condemn in the strongest possible terms the desecration of the Kesher Israel synagogue. Since World War II, the swastika has been a symbol of death, hate and destruction that people of all faiths, nationalities and beliefs reject. Painting the ultimate symbol of hate, racism, and genocide on a synagogue, community center, or cemetery in our community or anywhere in the world is universally repugnant. We stand in solidarity with fellow congregants, our Harrisburg neighbors and Americans of good will everywhere in supporting tolerance, equality and freedom--absolutely no exceptions, no qualification and no hate symbols—not now, not ever.
We are heartened by the immediate, robust and sincere expressions of condemnation of this act and depth of support for Kesher Israel. Together we stay strong and united in faith and solidarity. Thank you to the Greater Harrisburg community.
Rabbi Elisha Friedman of Kesher Israel shared the following:
“Please extend my appreciation to the Jewish Federation of Harrisburg, the Orthodox Union, the Harrisburg PD who responded immediately and were in touch throughout the day to protect us, the State Troopers and especially the Heritage Affairs Section, who also stayed in touch all day, the Attorney General's office which coordinated a response amongst law enforcement agencies, Representative Patty Kim and State Senator John Disanto, and George Scott, who each called personally to express their support and offer any assistance we needed, the Harrisburg Mayor's Interfaith Advisory Council, which organized a vigil, local rabbis and numerous faith leaders who have reached out, and our neighbors and fellow community members who have all expressed their support and concern during this scare. The perpetrator(s) hoped to sow division and fear, but through the overwhelming outpouring of so many coming forward to express their support and friendship for our synagogue and the broader Jewish community, what was intended to divide and alienate us and make us feel unwelcome and scared, failed miserably and instead reminded us of what a strong and loving community we are part of. The actions of these disturbed and unfortunate individuals do not reflect at all the best of what makes the Harrisburg area such an inspiring and welcoming place to live in.”