Anti-Semitic graffiti spray-painted on Royal Oak synagogue and baby stroller outside Oak Park home

Authorities in two Metro Detroit communities are investigating incidents of vandalism after anti-Semitic imagery was spray-painted on a synagogue and a baby stroller outside a Jewish family's home. 

A swastika was found painted on the Woodward Avenue Shul synagogue in Royal Oak Friday. Underneath read the word "Azov" - a term associated with a military brigade that has anti-Semitic leanings. 

A swastika was also found spray-painted on a stroller in Oak Park.

The two instances are now being investigated as hate crimes. 

"Jews are people who are targeted in society," said Rabbi Mendel Polter. "Unfortunately, we've seen a rise in the past few years. And I think that you know it's something that we should just take precautions about and not just that Jews should be aware that anti-Semitism exists but the non-Jewish community should also be aware."

The swastika was scrubbed from the surface of the synagogue within a few hours, according to Polter. 

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U.S. Rep Haley Stevens also made a statement on social media, saying "targeted hate and antisemitism have no place in Michigan's 11th District."

"I am devastated to learn of the graffiti at the Woodward Ave Shul. To our Jewish community: you are loved, you are supported, and we will root out hate wherever it may rear its head. Thank you to the Royal Oak Police Department for your swift actions as we continue to uplift this synagogue in love," she wrote.

Cases of anti-Semitism have been growing in the U.S. over the past few years. The Anti-Defamation League reported a 36% increase in incidents of harassment, vandalism, and assault in 2022.