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GWU Fraternity Torah Vandalized

The TKE chapter said in a statement posted to Instagram that their house “was broken into, vandalized, and Jewish texts were desecrated. Our entire chapter is outraged and saddened by this blatant act of antisemitism and violence against our brothers. We are cooperating with university officials and the ADL [Anti-Defamation League].”

Aaron Bandler is a staff writer for the Jewish Journal, mainly covering anti-Semitism and anti-Israel bias. Originally from the Bay Area, his past work experience includes writing for The Daily Wire, The Daily Caller and Townhall.

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Aaron Bandler
Aaron Bandler is a staff writer for the Jewish Journal, mainly covering anti-Semitism and anti-Israel bias. Originally from the Bay Area, his past work experience includes writing for The Daily Wire, The Daily Caller and Townhall.

A Torah inside George Washington University’s Tau Kappa Epsilon (TKE) chapter was vandalized on October 31.

According to Stop Antisemitism, “the Torah was ripped apart & had detergent poured all over it.”

The TKE chapter said in a statement posted to Instagram that their house “was broken into, vandalized, and Jewish texts were desecrated. Our entire chapter is outraged and saddened by this blatant act of antisemitism and violence against our brothers. We are cooperating with university officials and the ADL [Anti-Defamation League].”

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by GWU Tau Kappa Epsilon (@gw_tke)

Chris Osborne, the chapter’s president, told CNN that the house also has a Christian Bible in addition to the Torah scroll, yet only the Torah was vandalized. “I believe it was a hate crime,” he said. About a quarter of the TKE chapter is Jewish.

Osborne also told the student newspaper The GW Hatchet, “There was hot sauce poured all over the kitchen walls, the ceiling, the fridge, the kitchen appliances, floor… And other miscellaneous items were thrown around, there were decks of playing cards sprawled out all over the floor on the first floor.”

Chabad GW Founder and Director Rabbi Levi Shemtov told The Washington Post that the TKE Torah scroll “was a paper copy used for ceremonial purposes” and could be “repaired and reused” but it is still a “holy object” and “vandalizing it calls for strong condemnation.”

University President Thomas LeBlanc said in a statement he was “appalled” at the “desecration of the Torah scroll,” calling it “antisemitic vandalism.” “This is a deeply disturbing incident, and our GW Police Department is working with the D.C. Metropolitan Police Department to find the perpetrators,” LeBlanc said. “I want to be clear: I condemn all such acts of antisemitism and all forms of hatred, discrimination, and bias in our community.  Any act of antisemitism is an attack on the entire GW community and cannot, and will not, be tolerated.”

GW Hillel said in a statement that they were “deeply concerned” about the vandalism. “The Torah is the foundation of the Jewish faith, and its desecration is an antisemitic act of disrespect toward the Jewish community on campus. As always, we will continue to work in partnership with the GW administration to ensure that that this incident is investigated and to make our certain our campus climate is one where diversity and difference is celebrated.”

ADL CEO Jonathan Greenblatt tweeted, “This is horrendous and exactly why we’ve been working closely with @HillelIntl. In our recent survey, 43% of students have witnessed antisemitic activity on campus. This is unacceptable, Jewish students have the right to feel safe on campus.”

The American Jewish Committee tweeted, “We are appalled by the vandalization of a Jewish fraternity house at [GWU], which included the desecration of sacred Jewish texts. We call on law enforcement and the GWU administration to swiftly identify and apprehend those responsible for this horrific act of antisemitism.”

The Simon Wiesenthal Center also tweeted, “Anti-Zionism? Nazis desecrated and destroyed Torah synagogues then Shoah. Anti-Semitism at another us campus. How long will universities do zero against anti-Semitic hate crimes?”

StandWithUs tweeted, “Horrible! Jewish students were the target of an antisemitic act after their fraternity at George Washington University was broken into and their Torah scrolls vandalized. We condemn this disgusting act.”

Jewish on Campus tweeted, “An attack on Jewish spaces and the destruction of a Torah is an attack on all Jews.”

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