While Jewish community centers in New York and across America contended with bomb threats, vandals carved swastikas on the front doors of a Universalist church on the Upper West Side, according to church officials.
The vandals struck the Fourth Universalist Society in the City of NY on Central Park West and 76th Street on Monday night, according to congregants and church officials. Maria Paz Alegre, a member of the church, told Gothamist the congregation recently voted unanimously to be recognized as a sanctuary space for undocumented immigrants and has participated vocally in justice movements. The swastikas were located near a "Black Lives Matter" sign posted outside the church.
"We don't know if the offender read publicity on our newly declared sanctuary status, or knew that our congregation has a significant Jewish population, or whether they were responding to our Black Lives Matter sign," Reverend Schuyler Vogel, the church's senior minister, told Gothamist in an email. "But I wanted to share with you what happened, as it seems relevant to the changing climate of our country, the rise of hate crimes, and to the justice work being done in our city."
Vogel has reported the vandalism to the police, and posted a message to the church's Facebook page, noting, "It is also important to acknowledge that for many of us, this action is not only disturbing, but also deeply painful and triggering. Please know that Fourth Universalist is with you. You are safe here. We will not waver."
The city has seen a spike in anti-Semitic vandalism in the wake of President Trump's campaign and ultimate election, as has the rest of the country. When pressed to address the wave of recent anti-Semitic incidents, Trump said yesterday, "sometimes it's the reverse." He has not yet bothered to clarified this comment.