Community responds with support in wake of Jewish cemetery vandalism

The vandalism at a Waukegan Jewish cemetery has prompted a quick response from the city and continued condemnation of the hate crime from the community.

About 40 tombstones at the Am Echod Cemetery were defaced with red spray paint, including more than a dozen stones that were painted with red swastikas. The vandalism at the cemetery in the 3000 block of Grand Avenue was discovered Monday morning.

Although police have not reported any arrests, the city sent crews out to power-wash the paint off the stones. Most are back in their original condition, a spokesperson for the congregation said Wednesday.

“We can’t say enough about the support of the police department and the city of Waukegan,” said a woman at the congregation, who declined to give her name.

State Rep. Rita Mayfield of Waukegan also issued a statement condemning the desecration.

“This despicable act of vandalism is appalling and I join wholeheartedly with my colleagues, fellow officials, and community members in hoping for a swift and unsparing investigation that results in the capture and prosecution of the sick individual or individuals responsible,” she said.

The Am Echod congregation was founded in Waukegan in 1896, and is currently based in Grayslake.

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