Swastika scratched on door of Utah synagogue

A rabbi at Chabad Lubavitch of Utah says the community is “undeterred” despite the message of hate.

Someone etched a swastika on the glass door of a synagogue in Sugar House, as seen in a photo posted online Sunday.

Rabbi Avremi Zippel posted the photo on Instagram, showing the entrance to Chabad Lubavitch of Utah with a swastika scratched into the glass door.

“This is the first time we’ve had to encounter something like this,” Zippel told The Salt Lake Tribune.

Zippel believes the vandalism is related to recent escalation of violence between Israel and Gaza. He said he reported it to the FBI, which had recently encouraged the synagogue to be on high alert with the events that have unfolded in the Middle East.

“Beyond the property damage, which is upsetting, to have that kind of sentiment scratched into glass on a synagogue in 2021 in Salt Lake City, I have to say, really kind left us really shook,” Zippel said.

On his Instagram, Zippel delivered a message of solidarity.

“We will not cower in fear,” Zippel wrote. He also used the hashtag #AmYisraelChai, which means, “The people of Israel live.”

Zippel said the community will still gather at the synagogue “proudly and defiantly.”

“For us, this is sadly part of our people’s history,” he said. “We’ve sadly become somewhat accustomed to this sort of bigotry and hatred. And we will continue to do our thing undeterred.”

Utah Sen. Mitt Romney, Lt. Gov. Deidre Henderson, Salt Lake City Mayor Erin Mendenhall, Utah Rep. Burgess Owens and Salt Lake County Mayor Jenny Wilson were among those who tweeted Sunday in support of Zippel and the Jewish community.

“Hate and bigotry have no place in our community,” Wilson wrote. Henderson called the incident “unbelievable and unacceptable” and condemned “all acts of antisemitism.”

Owens added, “I stand with you [Rabbi Avremi Zippel] and hope they find the pathetic person who did this. Racism has no place in our state, country or world.”

“By extending his hand of fellowship to a rabbi and synagogue, our first president marked the way to be taken by all Americans,” Romney wrote. “Those who commit acts of vandalism against Jews or their places of worship in Salt Lake City or anywhere else only disgrace their own souls.”