The student news site of Charles E. Smith Jewish Day School

The Lion's Tale

The student news site of Charles E. Smith Jewish Day School

The Lion's Tale

The student news site of Charles E. Smith Jewish Day School

The Lion's Tale

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Antisemitic graffiti found in North Bethesda

Ari Kittrie
Antisemitic graffiti was found within a mile of Congregation B’nai Israel, CESJDS, Bender JCC and the Ring House on Aug. 27.

Antisemitic graffiti was found under a bridge in North Bethesda on Josiah Henson Parkway on Sunday, Aug. 27. The vandalized bridge featured a swastika and the message “CLUB ARYAN EXCELLENT” painted in large, bright orange letters. 

Police officers responded to the scene and were instructed to take photos of the crime scene and cover up the hate speech. Police say there are no suspects at the moment. 

The graffiti was painted in a central location of the Jewish community of Rockville and North Bethesda. The scene is within a mile of Congregation B’nai Israel, CESJDS, Bender JCC and the Ring House. 

This is not the first incident of antisemitism that has been in the Montgomery County area, Maryland saw a 98% rise in antisemitism in 2022, and it has continued to spread in vandalism all over. There have been similar situations to this in schools and other local areas. The proximity of this hate speech to prominent Jewish communities and the homes of many JDS students has added to the gravity of the situation. 

“I think it’s a little scary that people that have such strong feelings about Jews are living and doing things like this around us and are very close to me,” sophomore Carrine Shemesh said. “I think that because it surrounds so many Jewish hubs and areas, you need to be more aware of people like that.”

County Councilmember Kate Stewart, whose district includes North Bethesda, responded to the graffiti on her social media, stating her disappointment in the situation and her planned response. 

“I condemn the hateful message and swastikas found under a bridge of Josiah Henson Parkway in the vicinity of Tildenwood Dr in North Bethesda,” Stewart said. “I have been in touch with MCPD District 2D, which is investigating this hate vandalism and we are working to remove it immediately.”

Gil Preuss, CEO of The Jewish Federation of Greater Washington, also issued a statement condemning the graffiti. 

“We are deeply disturbed by the racist and antisemitic message found under a bridge of Josiah Henson Parkway in North Bethesda, MD,” Preuss said. “This hateful rhetoric has no place in our society. Our community will continue to stand strong and resilient in the face of hatred, racism, and antisemitism in all its forms.”

Situations of hate-based incidents such as this are becoming increasingly common in the local area and all over, causing many in the area to begin calls for action against the increasing antisemitism.

This experience is becoming more and more common for Jews in and outside of our area to endure.

“This might not have been personally directed at me, but it was directed at what I believe in and my community,” Shemesh said.

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About the Contributors
Vivi Ducker, Reporter
Ari Kittrie, Opinion Editor
As Opinion Editor, Ari is more than excited to put his best foot forward when writing, editing and designing spreads. Other than the Lion’s Tale, Ari is on the Wrestling Team, and is very active in politics including having worked as an Election Judge this past November. Additionally, he has worked for many political candidates from all different political parties.   

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