UPDATED: 2:30 p.m. on 12/3/19.
Police have arrested a 28-year-old man in the defacing of the historic Sixth & I synagogue in Washington.
The arrest of Luis Montsinos came on Monday, shortly after the synagogue announced the vandalism to the public. Montsinos, who has no address, was charged with defacing and destructing property, as well as resisting arrest.
The police report described the vandalism as a suspected hate crime, according to The Washington Post. It included swastikas and anti-Semitic language, the synagogue’s communications manager, Michelle Eider, told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency.
The Sixth & I synagogue in downtown Washington was vandalized with anti-Semitic graffiti.
Michelle Eider, the synagogue’s communications manager, said the vandalism contained swastikas and anti-Semitic language and was discovered on Monday morning.
In an email to congregants, the synagogue’s three rabbis said the damage was minimal and would be quickly fixed.
“In these moments, it’s important to remember that it is not a shame but an honor to be a Jew,” said the email. “It is no small irony that it was our doors, symbols of welcoming and inclusivity, onto which someone spewed hatred and bigotry.”
In addition to hosting services and Jewish programming, the non-denominational synagogue hosts events featuring well-known entertainers, thinkers, writers and politicians.
The Washington Post reported that along with swastikas scrawled in red ink in a staircase, the word “JEW” was carved into a door.
Several members of the community have tweeted their support for Sixth and I. Andrea Goldstein tweeted that she “thinks about [her] Jewishness every day.”
Absolutely devastated that @SixthandI, my synagogue and spiritual home in DC, was vandalized by anti-Semitic cowards. I think about my Jewishness every day and I am not sure how to fully express how crushing this is. pic.twitter.com/DtBpSUqKlA
— Andrea N. Goldstein (She/her/hers) (@AN_Goldstein) December 3, 2019
Another member, who previously tweeted that she was married at the synagogue and her daughter was named there, encouraged the community to support Sixth and I on Giving Tuesday. “We should respond to this hate crime by supporting [the synagogue] financially,” Carly Pildis tweeted.
Tomorrow is giving Tuesday I think it would be incredible if we rallied around @SixthandI. This is such an important place. We should respond to this hate crime by supporting it financially:https://t.co/rKL2vXXfwU
— Carly Pildis (@CarlyPildis) December 2, 2019
According to the synagogue’s website, gifts given on December 3 will be tripled, thanks to a match offer.
Jacqueline Hyman, a staff writer for Washington Jewish Week, contributed to this report.