Swastikas on synagogue probed

Congregation considered larger building

Sarah Anchors -- The Arizona Republic -- May 2, 2003
Russian Jews in North- Central Phoenix found their synagogue spray-painted with orange swastikas this week.

Phoenix police's bias crimes unit is investigating the vandalism.

It was discovered on Tuesday at the synagogue at 10th Street and Glendale Avenue.

Several swastikas were sprayed on the driveway and on the side of the white house, called the Bucharian Jewish Community Center.

About 80 people pray at the small white house on Saturdays and Jewish holidays.

"We're very angry. We never had this problem before," said Shai Meirov, a board member for the synagogue.

The congregation is considering security cameras, he said.
Synagogue member Sefi Borochov said there was talk of leaving the swastikas in place because "once it's gone, it's forgotten."

Thursday morning, though, members painted over the marks.

Bill Straus, director of the Arizona Chapter of the Anti-Defamation League, said it's the second time this year a local synagogue was de- faced.

The hate crime is a felony, Straus said.

Meirov said he is concerned about the incident because many of the religious congregants live nearby and the congregation wanted to open a larger synagogue.

"Bucharian" refers to people who came from the area around Bukhara, Uzbekistan.

The Bucharian center opened about 2 1/2 years ago. The community has grown to more than 400, Meirov said.
Reach the reporter at sarah. anchors@arizonrepublic.com or (602) 444-8014.
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