Graffiti on Koreatown temple investigated as a possible hate crime, police say

Congregants chat after Rosh Hashanah services at the Wilshire Boulevard Temple.
(Anne Cusack / Los Angeles Times)

The Los Angeles Police Department is investigating a possible hate crime after someone spray-painted a hateful phrase and symbol on a Jewish temple in Koreatown on Monday morning.

Police received a call around 8:30 a.m. that a man wearing a hooded sweater had been captured on surveillance camera vandalizing the Wilshire Boulevard Temple at 3663 Wilshire Blvd. According to the caller, the person spray-painted a Nazi symbol and the phrase “I hate your race” on the building.

The temple was founded in 1862 as Congregation B’nai B’rith, the city’s first synagogue, according to the temple’s website. In a statement, the temple said the building remains secure and well-protected despite the anti-Semitic vandalism.

“On this day when we celebrate the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., who chose courage over fear in the face of oppression, ignorance, and violence, we stand strong in our resolve and condemn this hateful act,” the statement reads. “There is no place for hate in a civil society.”