BLACKSBURG, Va. – A Blacksburg Jewish group’s sign was vandalized, upsetting members, but the act sparked an outpouring of support from the community.
The President of the Blacksburg Jewish Community Center Eric Hallerman said he first heard online what had happened.
“They scratched out parts of our sign and wrote things that were racist and anti-semitic,” Hallerman said. “That’s hurtful, that’s hateful, that’s unnecessary.”
Hallerman said the center is a place of worship and community outreach for many.
“I’m the son of a Holocaust survivor,” Hallerman said. “So, these kinds of hateful things strike a little deeper than you might even think. I mean my dad barely escaped with his life.”
Hallerman said before he got to the sign he found a member of a nearby church already trying to scrub off the damage. He’s received support on social media and was contacted Monday by a local sign shop owner offering to create a new sign for free.
Kevin Altizer, the owner of Signarama in Christiansburg, isn’t Jewish but he felt compelled to step in.
“We didn’t like what we saw,” Altizer said. “There’s no, there’s never a reason for that. So we just wanted to help out.”
Altizer said careful thought has gone into the new design.
“We’re going to make it as vandal-proof as possible,” Altizer said. “We are using a material that lasts a very long time.”
Making sure the sign and the love of a neighbor lasts.
“People are stepping up,” Hallerman said. “I think after all the emotion is over, this will be for the good.”