Mercer Island synagogue vandalized with ‘horrific and heartbreaking’ graffiti

MERCER ISLAND, Wash. — Herzl-Ner Tamid Conservative Congregation in Mercer Island was vandalized with hateful, anti-Semitic graffiti. Mercer Island Police said synagogue members found the building had been defaced Wednesday morning.

“It’s horrific and heartbreaking,” Daniel Weiner, Rabbi of Temple de Hirsch Sinai Seattle Bellevue, said.

It’s the latest organization to be targeted after suspicious packages were sent to two Jewish organizations on the island.

“It is terrifying to see,” Will Berkovitz, Rabbi & CEO of Jewish Family Service, said. Unfortunately, both rabbis said this isn’t surprising given the current climate.

“The fact that someone took out their perverse perspective about what’s going on in the Middle East by defacing a sacred space of a synagogue that’s the very definition of antisemitism,” Weiner said.

The FBI sent KIRO 7 a statement saying, “FBI Seattle is aware of the incident and is communicating with Mercer Island Police regarding the details. We have offered assistance should it be necessary.”

The rabbis say this vandalism is an example of people blaming the Jewish people for the war between Israel and Hamas.

“This is not legitimate criticism of the Israeli government this is attacking Jews for being Jewish,” Berkovitz said.

He said now more than ever the Jewish people need to know they are not alone.

“The allies that one would typically think would be standing shoulder to shoulder with us, who we’ve stood shoulder to shoulder with on so many causes for generations are just not showing up,” Berkovitz said.

Neither the City of Mercer Island nor the police department have not released an official statement about this incident.

“We’re all upset, concerned, fearful but I think also in many ways is it inspires us to double down on our resolve not to let those who hate us deny us our right to gather express ourselves in our religious convictions and to live out our faith as is the promise and our right as Americans,” Weiner said.

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