Jewish fraternity house vandalized near Temple University campus

The Jewish fraternity on Temple’s campus has been the victim of vandalism. The Temple chapter of Alpha Epsilon Pi Fraternity say, while they’re upset, they are not intimidated by the vandalism. They say it only speaks to the continuous tension they face on a daily basis.

Members of the historically Jewish college fraternity are reeling from the recent discovery of vandalism on the roof of their frat house. The words "Free Palestine" were spray-painted in black across their roof.

"We never thought it would get to the point where we would be vandalized, that someone would trespass onto our roof and vandalize our roof," member Zachary Fajge said.

Their Israeli flag, once proudly displayed at the top of their building, was also taken down.

Fajge and founding fraternity president Louis Berg say it feels like an intentional attack. "It’s clear that we were targeted because we have an Israeli flag here," Fajge said.

Louis Burg added, "If people take offense to the existence and display of the one Jewish state in the world, then that’s an issue of antisemitism."

Some neighbors who live next door to the fraternity shared their thoughts on the vandalism. Simon Sensabaugh stated, "I don’t think it’s cool to vandalize someone’s home. I don’t think it’s something we should condone. I also don’t think it’s valid to claim this is antisemitism. I think it was straight vandalism, but I don’t think it connects to Judaism as a culture and a religion."

Roommate Ben Boland, both Jewish, agree. "I have never felt threatened as a Jewish person on campus. Certainly not by anyone supporting Palestine," Boland stated.

Sensabaugh continued, "I think there’s a wide misconception that the free Palestine movement is about attacking or dismantling Judaism, but it’s really about criticizing the actions of the State of Israel itself."

Just across the way on North 17th Street, a Free Palestine flag waves from the roof of the neighboring building. Resident Jack Rabel said, "Getting onto…sneaking onto someone’s property or doing that stuff is a little concerning. I think Free Palestine as a phrase itself isn’t a crazy thing to say."

Despite the polarizing stances between neighbors just steps away from each other, one thing is for certain for the members of Alpha Epsilon Pi.

Fajge said, "We’re gonna continue to be proud to be Jewish." And Burg added, "We’re not intimidated. We’re not scared of advocating for our people and what we think is right."