Vandals target New Hampshire synagogue and other minority-affiliated buildings


(JTA) — New Hampshire’s attorney general launched an investigation into an overnight wave of vandalism attacks in Portsmouth that included a red swastika and a cross painted on a synagogue.

The attack on Temple Israel was one of at least 14 acts of vandalism carried out before dawn on Tuesday against Jewish and minority-affiliated institutions, Seacoast Online, a local publication, reported.

“We take the safety and security of our community seriously and will continue to run our services and programs as planned, although with increased vigilance,” Temple Israel’s rabbi, Kaya Stern-Kaufman, and president, Robert Zimman, said in an email to congregants. The synagogue, founded in 1910, bills itself as the first permanent Jewish house of worship in New Hampshire.

A security camera for a tattoo shop that displays expressions of solidarity with the LGBTQ community on its window caught a man in a red hoodie painting two red swastikas and an “X” through a sign declaring “You Are Loved.” Black-owned business were among the others targeted.

The state’s attorney general, John Formella, said his office’s civil rights unit was investigating the attacks together with local, state and federal law enforcement.

“We will work to find and prosecute whoever is responsible, to the fullest extent of the law,” Formella said in a statement, according to Seacoast Online. Police do not know if the perpetrator acted alone.

Last month, Formella charged two members of a local neo-Nazi group, NSC-131, for alleged infractions related to their hanging of a banner that declared “Keep New England White” over an overpass.