Baltimore solidarity event protests swastika incident at Jewish museum

Marcy Oster

(JTA) — Baltimore Jewish leaders and local political officials came together for a solidarity event days after a swastika was painted on a sign for The Jewish Museum of Maryland.

The sign is located outside of B’Nai Israel: The Downtown Synagogue, where Sunday’s solidarity rally took place, the Baltimore Sun reported.

The swastika with the word “shalom” written in black marker below appeared Thursday on the sign acknowledging the museum’s status as an agency of the The Associated: Jewish Community Federation of Baltimore. Days earlier, the museum opened an exhibit titled “Remembering Auschwitz: History, Holocaust, Humanity.”

At the solidarity event, several City Council members and state delegates joined local rabbis, members of the synagogue and museum supporters.

“While it’s only a small piece of defamation, we felt as a community that it was important to come out and to raise a voice and to say that love will overcome hate,” Rabbi Etan Mintz said at the event, the Baltimore Sun reported. “Words are words, whether they’re written, whether they’re spoken. But ultimately they lead to deeds. We have to make sure voices are heard saying this is not OK.”

City Council member Zeke Cohen, who said many of his family members were killed during the Holocaust, said in the wake of the incident he would introduce a City Council resolution to reaffim that Baltimore is a welcoming city.

The museum posted a statement about the swastika on its Facebook page.

“We have no idea who perpetrated this anti-Semitic act. However, we do know that this is part of a larger picture in which expressions of hate against the ‘other’ are on the rise,” the statement said. “The image is not a real threat to the Museum and its visitors. But the hate, and even more importantly the normalization of hate, is a very real danger to our whole society.”

A Baltimore-area JCC and a Jewish day school in Annapolis have received several bomb threats in recent weeks, some of the more than 150 Jewish institutions that have been threatened since the beginning of the year.