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Irvine synagogue vandalized

The front wall of the Beth Jacob Synagogue in Irvine was vandalized with antisemitic graffiti on Wednesday, Oct. 31.

Surveillance camera videos revealed that the antisemitic comments had been spray-painted on the wall of the synagogue in the early morning hours of that Wednesday. The message was immediately painted over following the incident.

The Irvine Police Department (IPD) is working closely with the leadership of Beth Jacob Synagogue to investigate this incident. As a result, IPD has increased patrols at the city’s Jewish organizations.

“IPD has reached out to its partners in the Jewish community to reaffirm the Department’s commitment to protecting their members, houses of worship and educational institutions,” the police department said on the day of the vandalism.

There is speculation that this hate crime was connected to the shooting at a synagogue in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania three days prior, killing 11 congregants.

“I am saddened for our community and those affected,” history teacher Logan Sewell said. “Before the country has been able to dry its eyes from the national tragedy in Pittsburgh, racism and discrimination rear their ugly head in Irvine. I know this community will not be intimidated nor tolerate this act and will rally together to support each other.”

Though the police have not revealed any information about potential suspects, they plan to investigate the incident as a federal hate crime.

“Antisemitism cannot be acceptable in this country; it will not be ignored in Irvine,” the Orange County District Attorney’s Office said. “We will continue to do everything in our power to condemn antisemitism and to protect Irvine’s Jewish community and also everyone of any race, religion or ethnic background in this city.”

Irvine City Council met on Nov. 13 to approve the city mayor’s proposal of doubling the reward already pledged by the Anti-Defamation League to $10,000 for any information relating to the antisemitic hate crime.

“As I remarked at the City Council meeting last night, with this reward we say to the evil among us that if you do something to any of us, you do it to all of us, and we will come after you,” Mayor Don Wagner said in a press conference.