Desecrated flag left in front of Tampa synagogue

A flag left at Congregation Schaarai Zedek blamed the Jews for media bias and immigration policies.

Tampa police want to know who would desecrate the American flag with anti-Semitic messages, then throw it in front of a synagogue.
 
That synagogue is in South Tampa on West Swann Avenue. The Congregation Schaarai Zedek has been a part of the Tampa community for more than a hundred years. 1100 families worship at this synagogue.
 
Over the weekend, they were notified of the disappointing news that someone directed messages of hate at the Jewish community.  "There's a lot going on in the world and a lot of different opinions and people become frustrated and I think this was a voice of frustration," said Rabbi Richard Birnholz.
 
The flag was found right along a wall in front of the synagogue. The rabbi describes it as having writing on it, blaming the Jews for media bias and immigration policies.
 
Tampa police spokesman Steve Hegarty says they are investigating. "We are looking to see if there's any video, we would like to see who placed the flag there."
 
Hegarty says detectives have a picture of the flag but they are not releasing it. "The exact verbiage...whoever put this together would have knowledge of that and you and I would not; so that might help in the investigation."
 
There were a couple of officers at the synagogue today, along with a security guard, but Rabbi Birnholz says they always take security seriously since there is a school there.  
 
The Rabbi also said we are living in strange times for sure, but he did have some words of wisdom for everyone. "Be vigilant, love your neighbor, take care of one another and have a big enough heart and a big enough mind to include all people and do what's best for the world as a whole."
 
If you have any information, contact Tampa Police.


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