Synagogue In Madison Vandalized With Swastikas On Eve Of Rosh Hashanah (TWEETS)

The city of Madison, Wisconsin, is considered a liberal oasis in a state that voted this past fall for Donald Trump. Often celebrated (or chastised, depending on your point of view) as the “Berkeley of the Midwest,” this university town with a population of a quarter of a million people tends to be seen as a tolerant city, valuing diversity in many different ways.

That doesn’t mean it’s shielded from hatred. Sometime between Tuesday evening and Wednesday morning this week, graffiti paint depicting Nazi swastikas and phrases like “Trump Rules” and “Antifa Sucks” was placed on a monument just outside an historic Jewish synagogue in the heart of downtown.

“I’m horrified, I’m sad. I would have hoped that we were beyond this — especially in Madison,” executive director of the Jewish Social Services of Madison Dawn Berney told

The graffiti, obviously a purposeful display of hate, comes at a time when Jews across the United States plan to celebrate Rosh Hashanah, the first of the Jewish High Holy Days and the start of the new year on the Jewish calendar. The Gates of Heaven is scheduled to host events of its own on Wednesday evening, the Isthmus reports.

Vandals specifically targeted a monument placed by the synagogue commemorating those that volunteered to fight against fascist forces during the Spanish Civil War of 1936.

A plaque commemorating anti-fascist fighters during the Spanish Civil War, near the Gates of Heaven synagogue.

Police spokesperson Joel DeSpain explained that they were still searching for suspects:

We are still investigating the incident. We don’t have any suspects or persons of interest at the moment. Whether this has soemthing to do with the Gates of Heaven building or the Spanish Civil War, we just don’t know.

The Gates of Heaven synagogue, located just a few blocks from the state capitol building near James Madison park in downtown Madison, Wisconsin, is the fourth oldest synagogue in the country. It is also the first synagogue build in the state, founded by 17 Jewish immigrant families who came from Germany to the Midwest. The synagogue is still used for holy holidays and monthly gatherings.

The graffiti has been removed from the monuments. But the community is still reeling from this hateful message.

Featured image via Chris Walker.