USA – Gathering place for Jewish students near UC campus vandalized

Cincinnati, OH – Cincinnati police are asking for help identifying two suspects who damaged property in front of the Rose Warner Hillel House.

The incident occurred around 2 a.m. Dec. 4 in the 2600 block of Clifton Avenue, police say.

Surveillance cameras captured two males destroying plant beds and throwing dirt in front of the center, which is a gathering place where students of the Jewish faith attend services, events and programs.

One suspect was wearing dark clothing, red shoes and red soles, and the other was wearing a red, white and blue/black jacket and a New York Yankees cap, according to District 5 police.

Cincinnati Hillel’s Executive Director Rachel Kaplan released a statement today on the vandalization. According to her post, the vandals also broke spotlights and turned over trash cans.

Millicent Houston is a Jewish student at UC and says that while her heart breaks to see such a senseless act happen near campus, she wants to let her peers know the Hillel Center is a safe, family-like atmosphere.

“Having a center like Hillel is really important and kind of rare to have, especially a Jewish Center,” Houston explained. “It gives people a home base and a space as well as a sense of community just to make new friends.”

At this time, however, police are calling this act vandalism and not a hate crime.

Last year, the Anti-Defamation League reported that Ohio saw a 92% increase in antisemitic incidents, making 2021 the highest year on record.

Kaplan with the Hillel House says she’s aware of these statistics and wants to ensure every student that when you’re inside these walls, you’re with family and safe.

“We’re going to remain a safe space and security is our top priority that the university is going to help partner with us to find who did this,” Kaplan said.

Police ask that anyone with information about the suspects in the video call District 5 investigator Mike Morrisey at 513-569-8582, or CRIMESTOPPERS at 513-352-3040.

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