Graffiti that appears to convey an anti-Semitic message of hatred has appeared on several buildings in Chicago’s Lake View neighborhood, raising concerns among the city’s Jewish community and nearby residents.
A cartoon that many people may find offensive has been painted on buildings at the following intersections: Belmont Avenue and Orchard Street, Roscoe Street and Broadway and at Melrose Street and Broadway.
“These were tags that depicted a derogatory stereotypical Jewish male with a big nose, maybe horns, which is very stereotypical and very, I guess you can say, racist,” said Madeline Isaacs, a resident of Lake View East.
Isaacs said she was disgusted, terrified and scared upon learning of the graffiti.
“…I think for the past few weeks I’ve been really scared of being Jewish,” she said.
One of the marked buildings is within walking distance of a synagogue, Congregation Anshe Sholom B’Nail Israel.
“There is a lot of tension right now, there have been a number of cases of attacks by Jews in major American cities over the past two weeks,” said synagogue rabbi David Wolkenfeld.
According to a survey by the Anti-Defamation League, anti-Semitic incidents in the Midwest have risen 84% since 2016 — an alarming figure for the Jewish Federation of Chicago.
Dan Goldwin, executive director of public affairs for the Jewish United Fund/Jewish Federation of Chicago, said the organization is looking for ways to bring people together across races, religions and political divides.
“There are enough things that divide us,” he said. “We have to find things that unite us. What happened here a block away from this synagogue is not going to help.”
The incidents are still being investigated by the Anti-Defamation League.
The Chicago Police Department said only one police report was filed.