Temple spray painted with swastika. Incident being investigated as a hate crime.

On Jan.3, at approximately 10:30pm, a Nazi swastika was painted on both sides of the exterior sign at Temple Beth Torah located at 7620 Foothill Rd. The Ventura synagogue is the most recent local target of anti-Semitic vandalism.

Temple Rabbi Lisa Hochberg told the Breeze, “Over the front door of Temple Beth Torah is a banner, created in the wake of the Pittsburgh massacre, that reads “stronger than hate”. A swastika painted on our Temple sign was met with so much anger, sadness, and outcry from our non-Jewish Community as well as the Jewish community, that I know that “love over hate” prevails. Anti-Semitism is not new, but it is also not inevitable. Being quiet and complacent cannot educate others to the scourge of racism, intolerance and violent behavior that we are witnessing locally and nationally. Thank you to the many community members, local ministers, pastors and rabbis in Ventura who have reached out with love and support to Temple Beth Torah. We are not deterred from living in the world as Jews and continuing the work of *Tikkun Olam, making this world a place where people live with mutual respect. Sadly, racism may be at the top of the list of things we must fight, together with good people of all faiths, backgrounds and sensibilities.”

She continued, “Someone driving by Temple saw the swastika and called 911. Thank you for doing what we all must be reminded to do, to take action when we see unacceptable behavior. The graffiti has been removed and Temple continues to be an active vibrant place with doors open to all people of good heart. We are grateful to the Ventura Police Department for their support and assistance in this vandalism.”

Ventura resident Esther Cole stated, “That’s all it takes. One swastika led to the death of millions of people,

and World War II. Any one, and everyone, who is against any kind of discrimination, should be aware of this episode, and alert to any kind of behavior that discriminates against any religion or any ethnicity.”

Anybody with information or is a witness to this crime is asked to contact the Ventura Police Department at 339-4488 or 339-4416.

*Tikkun Olam is a concept in Judaism, interpreted in Orthodox Judaism as the prospect of overcoming all forms of idolatry, and by other Jewish denominations as an aspiration to behave and act constructively and beneficially. Documented use of the term dates back to the Mishnaic period.

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