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, Features Editor
Vivi is very excited to be one of this year’s Features Editors. Eager to continue her journey of conducting interviews and writing compelling articles, Vivi is also thrilled to broaden her responsibilities by designing spreads and assisting upcoming reporters in helping their articles reach their full potential. Beyond the Lion’s Tale, Vivi is on the tennis and dance teams and has started a non-profit called SchoolPENS, that donates school supplies to schools and villages in developing countries, which she passionately works on in her free time. Vivi has a love of travel and spending time with her family and friends. She can’t wait for another amazing year on staff.
Ari Kittrie, Managing Editor, Web
Being a Reporter and Opinion Editor during the last few years, Ari is ready to take on the position of Managing Editor. His experience includes being an Election Judge for the Montgomery County Board of Elections and volunteering for various politicians from all levels of government. Additionally, Ari enjoys in his free time wrestling, volleyball, and sometimes cooking.  

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