Eugene man arrested over white supremacist graffiti at synagogue
On Wednesday, a man was arrested in Eugene for allegedly tagging a local synagogue with antisemitic graffiti.
Adam Edward Braun, 34, is accused of vandalizing Temple Beth Israel four times since last August. That includes allegedly writing “white power” on the building in January.
Eugene Police Chief Chris Skinner said after identifying Braun from security footage, law enforcement went to his home, where they found Nazi and Ku-Klux Klan memorabilia.
"The level that this person has immersed themselves into white nationalism and Nazi culture, it's the type of thing that we want to make sure our community knows exists," said Skinner. "And maybe equally as important, [it's] the type of thing that we want our community to know we take very seriously.”
Skinner said so far, it appears the suspect acted alone, and he may have been radicalized by books and podcasts.
"There wasn't a lot of information to suggest this is a broader group," said Skinner. "But we're not naïve. We know that this exists in our community."
Ruhi Sophia Rubenstein, the rabbi for Temple Beth Israel, said she’s seen a rise in antisemitism in Lane County, but also widespread community support.
“When I see this graffiti, I'm of course very saddened [and] angered, but it doesn't shock me deeply," she said. "And I'm also able to keep the perspective of knowing that we have far more allies than we have haters.”
Rubenstein said some in the local Jewish community might have more visceral reactions. After the "white power" graffiti last month, she said a member of the synagogue volunteered to cover it up.
"This person pasted (some paper) over the word 'white' and painted hearts on it instead, so that it said 'heart power,'" she said. "I think that story is just really indicative of the way people in our community show up."
The suspect is now in Lane County jail, facing four counts of misdemeanor bias crimes. Rubenstein said she’s thankful for the help of the Eugene Police Department.
Skinner said police will continue to learn more about the white supremacist symbolism they don't understand. He said these types of incidents can have a greater impact than some other misdemeanors.
"We want people to feel safe in their community, we want people to feel safe in their homes, and they should definitely be able to feel safe in places of worship," said Skinner. "So we will always go, to the best of our ability, above and beyond."
According to Rubenstein, Temple Beth Israel is open to all faiths and the non-religious.