Arrest made in vandalism of Washington’s Sixth & I synagogue

Sixth & I Historic Synagogue. File photo.

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.”

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.

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.

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  1. Is there a way to find out about the man who did the graffiti?

    Could WJW write articles on how to approach parents of children who are defacing their school property?


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