Jewish community center, church vandalized during holy days

Image Credit: Jewish Community Center of Northern Virginia/Facebook

FAIRFAX, Va. (AP/WAVY) — Authorities say a Jewish community center and a church within a mile of each other have been vandalized during a week when the two locations observed holy days.

Fairfax County police spokeswoman Tawny Wright says authorities responded to a report of graffiti at the Jewish Community Center of Northern Virginia on Tuesday. Within hours, they received a similar report at Little River United Church of Christ. The vandalism occurred before daybreak.

A swastika was painted at the church during Holy Week. Pastor David Lindsey says the church has a long history on inclusion and he wasn’t surprised that the church was targeted.

The community center’s executive director, Jeff Dannick, says it was particularly painful that the vandalism occurred during Passover.

Rep. Donald McEachin (D-Va.) issued a statement Tuesday regarding the vandalism as well as White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer’s comments at a daily briefing.

Passover is a time for Jewish families to come together to honor their rich history and tell the story of Exodus. I am extremely disheartened that during this sacred celebration, the Jewish Community Center of Northern Virginia was targeted by acts of hate. Hate has no place in the Commonwealth or anywhere else.

Today, the White House’s chief spokesman suggested that the means used to murder millions of Jews during the Holocaust was somehow dissimilar to the recent gas attack in Syria. Mr. Spicer’s comments force me to reflect on the Trump Administration’s slowness to condemn anti-Semitic actions. I condemn such reckless, wrongheaded comments from those in power.

To the JCC and to any community across the country impacted by reckless words and acts of hate, I have a simple message: I will stand with you, and I will stand up for you.”

Police say they are reviewing surveillance footage in both cases.

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