The words “Synagogue of Satan” were discovered on a New York Chabad building on the morning of May 23, as first reported by the Stop Antisemitism watchdog.
The aforementioned graffiti was spray-painted on the Chabad of Staten Island synagogue and the letters “SOS” – presumably standing for “Synagogue of Satan” – were also found on the Yeshiva Zichron Paltiel of Staten Island across the street.
Chabad of Staten Island Rabbi Moshe Katzman told SI Live that the Chabad has typically “left a door open” but now they “can’t do that anymore.” Chabad of Staten Island Associate Director Mendy Katzman told SI Live that they’re going to increase security in response to the vandalism.
“We’re here, we’re staying,” Rabbi Katzman said. “Life goes on.”
Anti-Defamation League New York and New Jersey Regional Director Evan Bernstein told the Journal in a phone interview that there is speculation in the Staten Island community that the graffiti was in response to the Lag B’Omer holiday or due to tensions in the community from Hasidic Jews erecting a religious eruv before receiving Consolidated Edison’s approval.
“Anti-Semitic graffitis are the hardest hate crimes for NYPD [New York Police Department] to solve,” Bernstein said. “Unless there’s videotape of it or a direct witness, it’s almost impossible to solve. Very, very difficult.”
Bernstein added that “it’s incredibly concerning” to see a “huge spike” in anti-Semitic incidents in New York in the fourth quarter of 2018 continue on into the first quarter of 2019.
ADL New York and New Jersey tweeted:
Rep. Max Rose (D-N.Y.) told SI Live, “This has become more and more common in our city and it’s absolutely reprehensible. As a Jew, as a Staten Islander, and as our Congressman I refuse to sit by when these kind of incidents occur in this district.”
The NYPD told SI Live that they are investigating the matter.