A projectile was shot into a classroom window of an Indiana synagogue sometime Sunday afternoon, injuring none but furthering anxiety about a rise in anti-Semitic incidents in the United States.
The hole came from what was likely a BB or pellet gun, according to Rabbi Gary Mazo of the Temple Adath B’nai Israel in Evansville, Indiana. No one was in the synagogue at the time of the shooting.
Evansville Police Department officials said they believe the damage was intentional and were investigating it as vandalism. The FBI has also offered to help in the investigation, Mazo said.
“This is a real tight-knit, special community and this is not the norm — not the norm for our community or for our temple,” Mazo said.
The incident comes amid a recent series of bomb threats and vandalism targeting Jewish institutions, including cemeteries, schools and community centers. The number of threats pushed President Donald Trump to open his address to Congress on Tuesday by saying he “condemned hate and evil” in these instances.
Mazo said it was disheartening to see those threats against Jews, as well as recent incidents of bias against Muslims.
“The rhetoric is so ramped up in our country,” he said, pointing in particular to the recent presidential election. “It’s almost as if the outward expression of hate and bigotry are being normalized and possibly encouraged.”
Mazo said he has received an outpouring of support from the community. He invited the community, including interfaith partners, to join an uplifting service on Friday.
“That could be a beautiful ending to, overall, not a great week,” he said.