A messianic synagogue in a suburb of Sacramento has been subjected to a number of hate crimes in the past two years, its leader said, culminating in more than a dozen leaflets outside the building this week claiming “Hitler was right” .
Designating itself as a “messianic center” and a synagogue, Shalom Le Israel is located in a small office park on a thoroughfare in Carmichael next to a silencer shop. On Wednesday afternoon, a large, white menorah, a permanent establishment in front of the center, was paved with leaflets showing a picture of Hitler with a raised fist and promoting the website of the Aryan Nations, a white racist group similar to the KKK. Flyers were also attached to a fence near the building.
It wasn’t the first time the center has been attacked by anti-Semites, said its rabbi. About two years ago a sign in the parking lot of the synagogue – visible to passing motorists and reading “Peace for Israel”, a translation of the name – was defaced by someone who crossed out “peace” and wrote “death”. The next day, a caravan in front of the building was mysteriously set on fire, Rabbi Boris Tsiprush said, informing J.
About six months ago, the synagogue found phallic graffiti on its grounds, and around the same time the center was deliberately flooded, said Tsiprush, who showed photos of the synagogue’s carpeted floor.
The destroyed shield of the community
Although the exact beliefs of individual communities vary, Messianic Judaism is a religion this mixes the teachings of Christian and Jewish theology; Members of Jewish for Jesus, a nonprofit organization based in San Francisco, are some of its best-known supporters.
At Shalom Le Israel, which opened about 12 years ago, believers observe the customs, holidays and even much of the prayer liturgy of traditional Jews, according to Tsiprush. But they do have some beliefs that are considered incompatible with Judaism, including that Jesus (Yeshua in Hebrew) is the Messiah and that the New Testament is part of the Bible.
When asked whether he was a Jew or a Christian, Tsiprush said he was “closer to Judaism than Christianity”. His parents fled Moldova from the Holocaust, but many of his relatives – he said a dozen – were killed, including his grandparents and aunt, who were murdered in Auschwitz.
It is not the first time that supporters of the Aryan Nations have targeted residents of Carmichael, a sprawling, unincorporated city with a population of around 64,000. A suspect was caught on surveillance tape in early October Drop flyers for the white racist group, weighted down in rice sacks, outside of houses. The town of Aptos was near Santa Cruz Hit with Aryan Nations flyers in August.
The Anti-Defamation League regional office issued a statement condemning the Shalom Le Israel incident.
“Putting anti-Semitic leaflets on a menorah is an act of hatred directed against the entire Jewish community,” Seth Brysk, director of the ADL San Francisco office, wrote to J. “The perpetrator (s) cowardly aimed at a recognized one jewish symbol try to provoke fear.
Rabbi Boris Tsiprush from Shalom Le Yisrael
“It is the second incident in the last month in which neo-Nazis tried to intimidate the Carmichael community with bigoted messages,” added Brysk. “ADL commends the Sacramento County Sheriff’s department for investigating both issues as hate crimes and responding in ways that require such dire acts.”
The sheriff’s office said it is investigating the Shalom Le Israel incident as vandalism and intimidation with an escalation of hate crime, local reports said. Sgt. Rod Grassman told TV reporters it is “certainly very threatening”.
When asked if the incident caused fear, Tsiprush, a former Russian military officer who served in wars in Afghanistan and Georgia, “never” said.
“Sometimes people do bad things and no one will stop them,” he said. “I want to see peace between everyone.”
According to Tsiprush, more than 90 percent of the 50-strong community of Shalom Le Israel come from the former Soviet Union. The services are conducted in a mixture of Russian, Hebrew and English.