Natick police are investigating the appearance late Thursday of a swastika painted on the ground near the bridge at the West Natick commuter rail station as an antisemitic hate crime (vandalism).
Update: 4/23/23 (WCVB-TV reports on the march)
The outraged community took action to cover the antisemitic symbol with a message of love.
Then the Department of Public Works took more permanent action to cover the symbol.
The town of Natick and Select Board issued a statement about the incident:
“Natick unequivocally opposes all acts of hate, prejudice, intolerance or discrimination against all peoples,” stated Select Board Chair Bruce Evans. “These moments serve as a harsh reminder that we must stand vigilant as a community and continue to make progress via greater education and community outreach. I make this next statement on behalf of the Select Board, Town staff, and all who associate with Natick, this act is in full opposition to the morality & convictions of a Town fully committed to acceptance & belonging. As an important part of that, we are in the process of hiring a Director of Equity, Inclusion, and Outreach.
“In light of the recent rise in anti-Semitic incidents both nationwide and locally, I want to extend my thoughts and solidarity to the Jewish community. We’re not immune from despicable acts like this any more than any other community around the world, and we must stand in solidarity and make every attempt to better educate ourselves, in hopes that the next hateful incident is prevented. A silver lining did arise from this incident. As our Town staff approached the scene to remove this hateful act, it
came to our attention that residents had already rallied to ‘combat’ this act with beautiful chalk artwork drawn atop this hateful imagery and blotting it out. Thank you to all Natick residents who stand alongside myself, the Select Board, and Town staff.”
The chalk artwork will remain until Monday, then the town will paint over the swastika.
Rabbi Levi Fogelman of the Chabad Center of Natick wrote to the Chabad community that the center had received numerous calls regarding the antisemitic graffiti at the Boden Lane Bridge.
“The purpose of an anti semitic act such as this, is no doubt done to attempt to create intimidation and fear. But how we respond belongs to us,” wrote the rabbi, who continued that it needs to be condemned but also that “the best way to stop darkness is to double our efforts with light and goodness.”
Rabbi Fogelman has invited the entire community to meet at the spot of the graffiti this Sunday morning at 10:30 am, and then march together to the Chabad Center parking lot at 10:45 am to celebrate an annual event dedicated to Maimonidies and his teachings. “We will hear from the Natick Police department and be greeted by Community leaders,” he wrote.
Other religious leaders also responded to the incident.
Rev. Becky Binns of St. Paul’s Episcopal Church wrote to parishioners: “Acts of hatred like this are acts of terrorism, and terrorism against Jews cannot be tolerated or ignored by the Christian community, by the human family, or by any of us who claim to be about Love. ”
More: Natick Freedom Team
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