The vandalism, which was discovered on Monday at Congregation Beth Israel, included the phrase "Die Juden" painted on the outside wall, local media reported.
“It’s easy for us in Portland to think this doesn’t happen around here. That we’re free of antisemitism and hate speech, but the reality is it’s very much a part of our world,” Rabbi Michael Z. Cahana said, according to the Oregon Live. “It’s very much of a part of the Pacific Northwest.”
While Cahana said he and police don't think this is part of a greater and more complicated plan that could result in violence - and the scorch marks from fires were believed to be from people using drugs rather than engaging in antisemitic vandalism - he stressed that his community should be aware, noting "how poignant it is to have this just a few days after having our community’s Holocaust survivors in our sanctuary, where we were honoring their eyewitness, their experience. It really recommits us to being vigilant against antisemitism,” according to the Oregon Live.
The incident faced harsh condemnation from Sen. Ron Wyden, a senior senator from the state who is also a member of the synagogue.
Hate speech and vandalism must never be allowed to terrorize Portland or any community. I stand with Rabbi Cahana and our entire synagogue by adding my voice to his when he says we all must be vigilant against these attacks. https://t.co/I1ZKZ5VJar— Ron Wyden (@RonWyden) May 2, 2022
"Hate speech and vandalism must never be allowed to terrorize Portland or any community," Wyden tweeted. "I stand with Rabbi Cahana and our entire synagogue by adding my voice to his when he says we all must be vigilant against these attacks."
Condemnation also came from the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), who noted on Twitter: "This was a horrifying display of antisemitism in Portland, OR and yet another example of why we must report antisemitic incidents and join together to fight hate."