Feiler Faster

We’re in full preschool phase-in mode around here. Anyone with young children will recognize the game. Our two-year-olds had their first day of a two-day-a-week preschool a week ago today. For the first day the parents go and stay in the room, then the parents are moved the next day to an adjacent room, then down the hall, the first day they go for one hour, then one hour and fifteen minutes, then an hour and a half, etc. The whole process takes nearly six weeks.
So this morning we get them up, into their “pink-a-liciou” and “blue-a-licious” clothes, have the fight over the proper color socks, manage to get a few bites of french toast down them, have the fight about whether they will walk or ride in the stroller, and then off the go. It’s outrageiously cute, and effortful, Mrs. Feiler Faster then gets the FeilerFasterettes to day three of the phase in process as their school at the nearby synagogue. When suddenly: Police cars and news crews are swarming the building. The street is filled with people. Overnight, police found swastikas on two synagogues side by side in Brooklyn Heights.
Here’s the NYDN. To see photos of the images, click here.

Twisted vandals spray-painted swastikas and hate messages on two synagogues and a number of other buildings and cars in a Brooklyn neighborhood last night, police said.
The foot-square Nazi symbol was painted in black atop the staircases to Congregation B’nai Avraham and the Brooklyn Heights Synagogue on Remsen St. in Brooklyn Heights sometime after 9 p.m., they said.
The foyer of a four-story apartment building at 45 Columbia Place, about a half mile away, was defaced with a 4-foot swastika under which was scrawled the message, “Kill Jews.”
At least one other building and two cars were spray-painted on the two blocks.
Police said they had no suspects but were investigating.
Kevin Carberry, a sixtysomething real estate agent who found a swastika on his building on Columbia Place, said the vandalism didn’t make sense.
“It’s irrational and it’s sad, but I don’t think it has anything to do with me. I’m Irish. I’ve lived here all my life and I’ve never seen anything like this,” he said.
Carberry and other victims suspected the vandals were teens out to cause trouble rather than true hatemongers.
“As for my place, I think I was just next in line,” he said.

Apparently this is the second time this has happened in a week.
I have some experience with swastikas and synagogues. The synagogue I grew up in in Savannah, GA, is across the square from Jim Williams’ house. Jim, of course, is the murderer in Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil. He often complained about parking during the high holidays and once hung a Nazi flag on the front of his house. He was a pretty despicable person, and his love of guns didn’t make him more charming. Later, he shot his gay lover and not any of us.
Having said that, I have not normally been someone who is overly concerned about the painting of swastikas as graffiti, which happens fairly regularly these days around the world. Obviously it’s unnerving, and the image of my daughters climbing up a set of stairs painted with a swastika is sickening, even stomach turning. I feel the impulse of rage.
But my guess is that this is probably some hooligans proud of themselves. I certainly hope that’s all that it is, and maybe we’ll find out. The idea that an increase in these incidents is the mark of a rise in anti-Semitism strikes me as questionable. Maybe it’s becaue I grew up in the South not that long ago where individual anti-Semitism (not that directed at Israel) was a fact of life. Either way, I’m glad police are investigating. I doubt they’re find out who did it. (Maybe all those security cameras?) But I hardly think that even two incidents in a week in Brooklyn is a mark that anti-Jewish sentiment is surging in New York City.

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