Nine windows were discovered broken at Congregation Anshai Emeth in Peoria, Ill., on May 20, 2020. Credit: Congregation Anshai Emeth.
(May 22, 2020 / JNS) Police in Peoria, Ill., are investigating nine broken windows at a synagogue in the city.
Authorities believe the vandalism at Congregation Anshai Emeth, which houses the Hebrew Day School, occurred between Tuesday and Wednesday afternoon, when it was reported to law enforcement.
“It is under investigation by a detective, and at this point, there is no suspect information,” said Officer Amy Dotson, public-information officer for the Peoria Police Department. “No entry was made, and nothing in the chapel appeared to be disturbed.”
She said the windows were broken by either rocks or bricks, and among the rooms impacted were classrooms and a kitchen.
Dotson added that “we do have issues with kids and vandalism. I wouldn’t say it’s prevalent to houses of worship, but it isn’t completely uncommon. It is typically a juvenile delinquent situation.”
Synagogue president Steven Marx told a local television station, WMBD, that “the vandal or vandals used bricks or rocks to break a lot of windows and tried to break one door. It just seems to be simple vandalism, but the target, of course, makes you wonder.” He confirmed this on Friday with JNS, noting that estimates for the damage have not yet been made.
As of press time, no motive had been associated with the incident. Officials have said as of now there is no indication of anti-Semitism.
Indeed, following a post on Facebook about the incident in which some expressed concern that this was a hate act, someone using the synagogue’s Facebook account responded, “Maybe they didn’t target us as Jews.”
On Thursday evening, the Anti-Defamation League Midwest indicated its awareness of the incident and planned to speak with both law enforcement and members of the congregation.
On his personal Twitter account, David Goldenberg, ADL’s Midwest regional director, said: “The investigation is underway and motives for this vandalism are unknown at the moment, but we know it occurs at a time when anti-Semitic incidents are up 340 percent in Illinois since 2016.”