RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — A rash of recent anti-Semitic incidents in the Triangle is raising concern.
Most of those have occurred on local college campuses.
“These are times when we should be able to seek sanctuary in God’s home and not feel afraid and that vulnerability and that concern needs to be heard by our leaders,” Rabbi Daniel Greyber with Beth El Synagogue in Durham told CBS 17.
The rabbi also feels those concerns are not being heard enough.
That’s why he’s joined 18 other rabbis and leaders of the Jewish community in Central North Carolina to express their worry.
The most recent incidents include a number of swastikas found in one of the residence halls at the North Carolina School of Science and Mathematics in Durham.
At UNC-Chapel Hill, flyers referring to “an evil Jewish plot” were found at Davis Library and flyers with anti-Semitic remarks were discovered at Hamilton Hall.
UNC freshman Justis Malker says this troubles him.
“You walk into the library and it’s supposed to be a safe place where you can study and a place where you are supposed to feel like you belong and you see that that can’t feel good,” Malker said.
Last year, there were separate incidents at Duke University including swastikas carved in pumpkins.
There were also neo-Nazi stickers and a swastika painted over a mural honoring the 11 people killed at a Pittsburgh synagogue.
“The shooting at Tree of Life congregation came from somebody who said ‘I’m going to act on this’ and the concern is that will happen again and God forbid if it happens again how many more lives need to be lost,” said Greyber.
Greyber and those who signed the letter to the community want more people from the Jewish community at the table — whether it’s about basic policy or safety and security.
But, he also thinks it’s important to understand that it’s not just Jews who are seeing an increase in hateful behavior.
“There have been acts of hatred against Muslims, there have been acts of hatred against gays and lesbians, there have been acts of hate against minorities and that goes against everything this country is for,” said Greyber.
That sentiment is not hard to find on local college campuses.
“It’s really disappointing that people on this campus feel that way and, like, act that way towards people I feel like this is known to be a real liberal campus and accepting of everyone. So when stuff like that happens it’s, like, whoa, there’s people here who are like that?” said Lexi Copp who is a freshman at UNC.
Here is a letter from the chancellor of North Carolina School of Science and Mathematics following the discovery of swastikas on campus:
Dear NCSSM Community,
We wanted to make everyone aware of a situation that took place last night. Swastikas were found drawn on one of our residence hall floors. The drawings were documented and covered by our Student Life staff once it was brought to their attention. Later on in the evening, Student Life staff members met with students who live on the floor to discuss what was found and to be available to support students.
The swastika symbol has historically been and continues to be used as a symbol of hate, intimidation, and intolerance, and this type of behavior has no place in our community or on our campus and will not be tolerated. I am deeply disappointed in the actions of the individual or individuals who felt it was okay to draw swastikas in one of our residence halls. NCSSM is committed to providing a safe and inclusive environment for all of our community members, and the vast majority of our campus community members work to do this each and every day.
We currently do not know who is responsible for the drawings, but will do everything we can to identify those responsible and take the appropriate disciplinary and legal actions. Anyone with knowledge of this matter should contact me, our Vice Chancellor for Student Life, Terry Lynch, and/or Director of Campus Safety, Rick Hess.
Todd Roberts, Ed.D