Suspect arrested after Chicago synagogue vandalized, man assaulted

Several Jewish institutions were vandalized in the West Ridge neighborhood of Chicago over the weekend.

Swastika on a wall (illustrative) (photo credit: INGIMAGE)
Swastika on a wall (illustrative)
(photo credit: INGIMAGE)

Chicago Police arrested a person of interest after the F.R.E.E. Chabad synagogue in Chicago and a number of other Jewish institutions were vandalized over the weekend, local community members reported on Sunday night.

The Concerned Citizens League (CCL), a group of Jewish community members in Chicago who work to train community members in first-aid and self-defense, reported that several incidents had targeted Jewish institutions along Devon Avenue in the West Ridge neighborhood of the city.

On Saturday morning, two Jewish businesses, Kol Tuv and Tel Aviv Bakery, had their windows broken. A synagogue in the area also had its windows broken.

On Sunday afternoon, the F.R.E.E. synagogue and the Hanna Sacks Bais Yaakov High School were vandalized with yellow swastikas. Shortly afterward, a Yeshiva student was tackled by an assailant described as a middle eastern man, according to CCL. The victim was treated by the Hatzalah emergency medical service and was not seriously injured.

The incidents have all been reported to the Chicago Police Department who are actively investigating.

Debra Silverstein, the alderman of the 50th Ward of Chicago, wrote in a public safety update that it is as of yet unclear if the incidents are connected or not and if they were carried out by one person or a group of people.

"These incidents are particularly upsetting as they come mere days after Holocaust Remembrance Day and in light of a worrying increase in antisemitism across the nation," wrote Silverstein. "I want to assure everyone that the City of Chicago stands firmly with the Jewish community. The police are taking these incidents very seriously, as am I and all the City leadership. Hate has no place in this neighborhood, and bigotry will not be tolerated."

Rabbi Levi Notik, the rabbi at F.R.E.E., thanked Chicago Police for dealing with the incident swiftly, adding that one person was in custody. "We need to increase in more good deeds and acts of kindness to overcome this dark hatred," Notik wrote on Facebook.