The owner of local Jewish deli, Schmaltz Delicatessen, is speaking out after being vandalized on Sunday.
“As best we as a staff can figure, sometime mid-afternoon to close, a vandal came to the front of our store and spray painted what was intended to be an anti-Semitic comment on the concrete almost right in front of the door of the store,” said Owner of Schmaltz Delicatessen, Howard Bender.
The phrase, which is now cleaned up, read “Free Gaza.”
“This is far less about the complexity of world issues and complexity of countries outside of ours and our opinions,” said Bender. “It’s not about what they painted, it really is about the fact that somebody targeted an American Jewish business in Naperville, Illinois and it was purely intended to be anti-Semitic.”
As soon as the vandalism was discovered, Schmaltz staff contacted the Naperville Police Department, who are currently investigating the incident as a hate crime.
“They were very quick to be here, to bring out their investigators. They were taking photographs; we’re doing some search right now on what cameras are in the building to see if we were able to catch anything,” added Bender.
Schmaltz Deli shared news of the incident on their Facebook page Sunday evening, in a post that has garnered over 2,000 likes, comments and shares in less than 24 hours.
“Friends and family from around the country and clergy from multiple religious groups saying that they stand behind us, and customers coming in all day so far today saying ‘I heard this happened, we have your back.’ And that’s wonderful, that’s wonderful to hear,” said Bender.
Bender has vowed to speak out against the crime, in hopes that it prevents other hate crimes from happening in our community.
“We want the community to know that there is hate happening amongst our businesses and our children and this has got to stop,” said Bender. “The only way its going to stop is if we speak up really loud.”
Schmaltz Delicatessen will be celebrating 13 years in Naperville in November.
Naperville News 17’s Evan Summers reports.
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