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CHICAGO (WLS) — Chicago police are investigating vandalism on the Far North Side at least five locations, including a synagogue and a Jewish school.

It happened around 4:40 p.m. Sunday in the 2900-block of West Devon, according to police.

Investigators said at around 4:40 p.m., someone spray-painted graffiti on the F.R.E.E. Synagogue in the 2900-block of West Devon Avenue.

The symbol of hate scrawled on the synagogue has startled the congregation.

“So we were inside packing meals as we do every week, hundreds of meals for families in need, for Holocaust survivors and Russian seniors and as we come outside finishing that, we see a swastika on our building,” said Rabbi Levi Notik of Synagogue F.R.E.E.

As they tried to make sense of the hateful vandalism, a congregant walked in shaken saying he had been assaulted by a man as he was heading into Jewish services.

“Law enforcement has been amazing,” Rabbi Notik said. “We thank God his injuries are very minor And thank God no one was seriously hurt.”

Police said the same person then walked a block and spray painted hate symbols on a cargo container at a Jewish high school. Police were at the scene of another Jewish school in the same area overnight.

Alderman Debra Silverstein of the 50th Ward has been reaching out to local businesses to make sure they’re on alert.

“Hate has no place in in our neighborhood and we will not tolerate it,” Alderman Silverstein. “The community is very upset, very concerned. We’re looking to the police.”

On Saturday, Kol Tuv Kosher Foods had a window smashed and right next door the front door of Tel-Aviv Kosher Bakery was shattered. Owner Walter Richtman was furious.

“The person whoever did it is has to understand we are all the same people, we are all God’s people,” he said. “We need to be treated equally.”

All of the incidents happened around or near the 2900-block of West Devon Avenue, a neighborhood full of Jewish establishments and they took place just days after Holocaust Remembrance Day.

“The way that will overcome this hate, the way that we will get through this darkness is through goodness,” Rabbi Notik said. “Through positivity and kindness. Light is the answer.”

Meanwhile, police said they are questioning a person of interest, but they have not said if all of the incidents are linked.

“We’re not going to be afraid,”Richtman said. “We’re not going to run. We’re gonna stand. Things are gonna keep going. We’re gonna be more vigilant. We will watch out to see if somethings happening but we’re not going to change what we’re doing.”

The rabbi with F.R.E.E. synagogue said there are cameras all over the building, but they didn’t catch the crimes taking place.

Meanwhile, Alderman Silverstein said police are looking for any video evidence from businesses in the area.

Copyright © 2022 WLS-TV. All Rights Reserved.

Source: ABC7

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