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Uptown in the News  

February 22, 2006
Hateful graffiti gets the brush
Neighbors cover graffiti
By (author here) Angela Caputo

Painting all the hate out of the world may seem impossible, but a group gathered in Uptown last weekend to do their part one brush stroke at a time. Supporters came out to help cover over the hateful graffiti left by taggers, Feb. 13, in the coutyard of the Augdas Achim North Shore Congregation.

North Shore Rabbi Philip Lefkowitz said he and other religious leaders in the neighborhood were left feeling stung by the Feb. 13 on one of the city's oldest synagogues, 5029 N. Kenmore Ave. Particularly, he said, because he suspects that the culprits aren't "skinheads," but rather young adults following a pack mentality thinking, "I'm tagging a synagogue, I'll put up swastikas."

Not only was tagging more invasive bevcause it was on the interior walls of the building, Lefkowitz said, it showed a deep insensitivity to how hurtful it was to find the anti-Semitic slogans when they were revealed by the light of the day, early that Friday morning.

Nothing was spared as sacred from the spray paint, not even the succah--a ceremonial hut symbolizing the Jews exodus from slavery. A series of swastikas also lined a row of windows. And the walls were covered with slogans like "white power" and "Sieg Heil Jews."

Aside from eight empty spray paint cans, the only other evidence that the taggers left behind were their suspected graffiti names, "Stage 1" and "Nah," accordiing to police. An initial search of the names didn't reveal any matches, according to a police report. The incident has since been labeled a hate crime.

Through the paint-out, Lefkowitz said, he and other wanted to send a clear message: "Let's not tolerate any hatred, I don't care who it's against."

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