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December 16, 2021 5:50 pm
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Indiana University Jewish Community Decries ‘Hatred’ After Sixth Swastika in Weeks Found in Bloomington

avatar by Dion J. Pierre

Indiana University Bloomington. Photo Credit: MARELBU/ WikiCommons.

At least six swastikas have been found daubed around Bloomington, Indiana, in recent weeks, alarming Jewish students at the city’s flagship university and coming on the heels of a previous spate of antisemitic vandalism.

The sixth such symbol was discovered on Wednesday at Sixth and Madison streets, reported the local Indiana Daily Student, which has tracked the series of incidents stretching back to Nov. 28 — the first night Hanukkah.

One of the six has been found on campus. Indiana University Police and Bloomington Police are investigating a number of the incidents, the student publication said, with no suspects yet identified.

Though it is unknown if a single perpetrator is behind the swastikas, some of the drawings have closely resembled one another.

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“This type of hatred is on the rise around the country, and we stand together to say no one should experience antisemitism, anywhere. Students must feel safe on their college campuses,” IU Hillel Rabbi Sue Laikin Silberberg said in a statement Monday.

More than 4,500 Jewish students call the campus home — a community that has already this semester faced a series of disturbing antisemitic incidents on campus.

At least a dozen mezuzahs have been desecrated or stolen from the residences of Jewish IU students since the High Holidays in September, it was reported last month, prompting the formation of a new antisemitism task force and a “Mezuzah Project” to distribute the ritual prayer scrolls.

Silberberg described other university-backed initiatives to address rising antisemitism on campus, including a student task force, training for residential assistants, and counseling services for Jewish students.

Indiana University Chabad leaders, joined by Jewish students, responded to the first swastika graffiti on Dec. 4 by lighting Hanukkah candles in front of it.

“Campus is not a place of hate,” said Chabad Rabbi Levi Cunin, according to the Daily Student  “Campus is a place of love. We will therefore be spreading love.”

Indiana University Police have asked residents with any information about the swastika graffitied on campus to contact them at 812-855-4111.

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