Antisemitic graffiti found on pro-Israel banner at Wynnewood synagogue

antisemitic synagogue
This images shows the vandalized banner outside Temple Beth Hillel-Beth El.
Temple Beth Hillel-Beth El

A swastika was spray-painted on a pro-Israel banner Saturday night outside a synagogue in Wynnewood, according to the congregation’s leaders.

The antisemitic graffiti targeted Temple Beth Hillel-Beth El, which sits about a mile from city limits near the corner of Lancaster Avenue and Remington Road.

A photograph uploaded to the synagogue’s Facebook page shows the symbol, associated with Nazi Germany, in red paint over a banner reading “our community stands with Israel.” It is located under Temple Beth Hillel-Beth El’s sign and adjacent to a message about a children’s summer camp.

Representatives from the synagogue say they recently replaced the banner after it was previously vandalized on the night of March 22. Both incidents have been reported to police, they said.

“We do not know who did this,” the synagogue’s leadership team wrote on social media. “We do know that they wanted us to be afraid. A swastika is not a commentary on the policies of the State of Israel, nor is it a sign of solidarity with Palestinians. It is a symbol of hatred and division.

“We, the leadership of the synagogue, want everyone to know that we will not give in to either fear or division,” they continued. “We are blessed to live in a society in which hate speech is not tolerated by the police, who are working with us to keep us safe.”

Temple Beth Hillel-Beth El, in response to the situation, planned to host a prayer service Monday night, after Metro went to print.

CNN host Jake Tapper, who grew up in the Philadelphia area, shared an image of the vandalism with his 3 million followers on X, formerly known as Twitter. He noted that he celebrated his bar mitzvah at the synagogue.

Gov. Josh Shapiro, also on X, said he spoke to Temple Beth Hillel-Beth El’s senior rabbi, Ethan Witkovsky, and that state police are participating in the law enforcement response and investigation.

“These acts of hate will never change the fact that no matter what you look like, where you come from, who you love, or who you do and don’t pray to, you belong here in Pennsylvania,” he added.

Officials from Lower Merion Township, where the synagogue is located, did not respond to a request for comment.

Between Oct. 7, when Hamas launched an attack on Israel, and Feb. 20, the Anti-Defamation League recorded nearly 5,600 antisemitic incidents nationwide, a increase of more than 330% from the same period a year prior, according to the organization, which tracks hate.

“As antisemitism continues to rise nationally and locally, we must work together as a community to make it clear that hate has no place here,” the Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia said in a statement Monday. “We stand with Temple Beth Hillel-Beth El as they address this vandalism while continuing their critical work to unify the Wynnewood Jewish community through prayer, inclusion, and love.”