Central Avenue Synagogue in Highland Park. | Photo: Google Street View

Police officials say they are investigating anti-Semitic and racist graffiti found on a Highland Park synagogue as a hate crime.

The Highland Park Police Department responded around 5:45 p.m. on November 20 to the Central Avenue Synagogue, 874 Central Avenue in Highland Park.

Highland Park Deputy Police Chief William Bonaguidi said officers responded after graffiti was found on a wall of the building.

Bonaguidi said the incident is being investigated as a hate crime due to the graffiti being considered both antisemitic and racist.

Five bricks were written on sometime in the days leading up to November 20, according to a police report.

The graffiti, which contained expletives and a racial slur attacking Jewish and black people, was drawn with some type of black marker.

Martin Blumenthal, the synagogue’s treasurer, told the Chicago Tribune that he was at the synagogue for Sabbath services when a security guard told him about the graffiti.

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“He said, ‘I think you need to see this,’” Blumenthal told the Tribune. “It looked like it was made with a Sharpie. At least it wasn’t spray paint. I called the police. We checked security tapes but didn’t see anything.”

U.S. Representative Brad Schneider said in a statement to the Tribune that he was “appalled by the attack on Central Avenue Synagogue.”

“Hate anywhere, any time is unacceptable and a threat to all we hold dear. In these times of heightened polarization, we must be even more vigilant and united to ensure the perpetrators are brought to justice,” Schneider said.

Bonaguidi told Lake and McHenry County Scanner that no suspects have been identified and no charges have been filed yet.

Anyone with information is encouraged to contact the Highland Park Police Department at 847-432-7730.