Feiler Faster

First step: Get enough paint.
I’ve been on Remsen street three times in the last 24 hours at the site of yesterday’s random swastika painting. I’ve spoken to a number of people quite knowledgeable about the situation. Here’s what I know: The best guess is that someone around 8 pm on Monday night took a can of black spray paint and started down by the East River and began randomly spraying carefully drawn, double-lined black swastikas on certain houses, on some cars, and eventually on two synagogues that are about four or five blocks away. The houses seem not to have been singled out because they were occupied by Jews. Apparently by the time they got to the second synagogue, the one where my daughters go to school, they must have run out of paint, because the swastika on the steps was not complete. What’s been striking to the people who are close to the situation is that no damage was done to the synagogues, no vandalism, no rocks through windows, nobody tried to tear down the succah that stands right over where the painting was done. If this person or persons were hellbent on terrorizing Jews that would have been an easy step.
What’s been troubling to officials, apparently, is that this person or persons then came back a few hours later and distributed some fliers that said negative things about Jews. This shows much more malicious forethought (and may have left fingerprints). All these things are being investigated, though I didn’t get the sense that anyone expects anything to come of the investigation.
I personally was impressed that the folks I ran into and spoke to about this situation had a sense of calm and perspective. This is spray paint, not an existential threat to Jews, and given all the heads of state in town and the anxiety about the Middle East, one guess is that this might be the letting off of some steam about that issue. This weekend at least one of the synagogues will be decorating its succath. Next week they’ll close off the streets and dance with the torah to celebrate reaching the end of the annual reading. My guess is that it will be more crowded than usual.

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