Gunshot fired through classroom window of Indiana synagogue

A gunshot was fired through a Hebrew school classroom window at an Indiana synagogue.

The bullet hole was discovered late Monday at Adath B’Nai Israel Temple in Evansville. The apparent attack was reported to police on Tuesday morning, according to reports.

Rabbi Gary Mazo told the Indianapolis Star that the shooter would have had to walk around to the back of the building and fire into the classroom from the playground. The attack is believed to have occurred on Sunday night.

“We’re in this climate now where acts of hate are happening everywhere,” the rabbi told the newspaper.

“The goal was to make us afraid, but we’re not going to let fear consume us. We’ll stand up to fear, we’ll stand up to hatred and we’ll stand together. We know this is not representative of our community. We know that we live in a community that supports each other.”

The Evansville Police Department and the FBI are investigating the incident.

Evansville Mayor Lloyd Winnecke visited the Conservative synagogue Tuesday morning and issued a statement condemning the attack and calling it “a disgusting act of hate and bigotry that cannot be tolerated.”

He added: “Our community must come together in support of religious freedom and stand together with our Jewish brothers and sisters.”

Indiana is one of five states that does not have a hate crimes law.

The incident occurred a day after proposed hate crimes legislation died in the Indiana state legislature and after the Indianapolis Jewish Community Center received a bomb threat, one of 28 JCCs and Jewish schools targeted that day across the country.

The Evansdale attack wasn’t the only act violence directed at a Jewish institution this week.

University of Texas and Austin Police are working to determine whether an incident of vandalism at the campus Hillel was specifically targeting the Jewish community.

The Texas Hillel said in a statement Tuesday that was also posted on Facebook that a window of its building was broken on Saturday morning. The vandalism comes amid an uptick across the country in threats on Jewish community buildings.

The office of University President Greg Fenves said in a statement: “The University will assist Austin police as they investigate and determine if this was an act of hate against Jewish students. As the UT community made clear at last week’s town hall, acts of hate — whether posters targeting Muslims and immigrants or a rock thrown at Hillel — have no place here. We will do everything we can to support our students who were affected by this.”

Hillel said in its statement that it was “working to take specific actions to ensure the safety of the Jewish community on campus,” and would provide more details on those actions when they become available.

“Our primary focus is to ensure all Jewish students feel safe and welcome on campus, and that incidents like this do not happen again,” the statement said. “Texas Hillel is here to engage and connect with any students or faculty who are impacted by this incident, and we welcome members of our community to join us in developing proactive ways to process and address these issues.”

More than 3,000 Jewish students attend the university in Austin.

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