Anti-Semitic Vandalism on Temple de Hirsch Sinai

April 18, 2023

Dear Seattle University Community, 

It is with great sadness that I must address the recent act of anti-Semitic vandalism that occurred on Temple de Hirsch Sinai. The hateful and vile messages graffitied on the synagogue right near our campus Sunday night—the eve of Yom HaShoah or Holocaust Remembrance Day—is a painful reminder of the persistence of hatred and bigotry in our world. 

Seattle University condemns this heinous act and all acts of intolerance and persecution. We stand with and support the Jewish members of our SU community. Our thoughts and prayers are also with the temple community, with which Seattle University shares longstanding and deep bonds. I have reached out to Senior Rabbi Daniel Weiner, a good friend of the university, to express our continuing support and partnership. 

As a university and as a place where we are called to engage across difference, let us recommit ourselves to building a world that is free from the scourge of prejudice and violence. In collaboration with the Jewish Student Union, Campus Ministry had planned an observance of Yom HaShoah for tomorrow, April 19, at 7 p.m. in Student Center 130, welcoming and learning from Jessica Fenton, the granddaughter of Holocaust survivors. Campus Ministry will acknowledge those on campus and in our local community who are impacted by this act of hatred, within the broader context of anti-Semitism. All are invited to attend in solidarity. 

Also prior to Sunday’s incident, our Center for Ecumenical and Interreligious Engagement was collaborating with the temple on an upcoming event that will bring Jonathan Greenblatt, CEO of the Anti-Defamation League to the synagogue on May 25 (more details to come). This latest act only reinforces the importance of continuing dialogue and remembering the atrocities of the past so that we may work toward a more peaceful future.


Eduardo M. Peñalver