Antisemitic incident at Detroit-area synagogue in Michigan, US

A man who reportedly called himself a „Jew hater” is investigated after driving to a Detroit-area synagogue, yelling antisemitic slurs at two people and throwing a pair of gloves at one of them.

The altercation happening on Thursday, May 9 in Oak Park, Michigan, US, on is the latest in a string of antisemitic incidents targeting Jewish institutions since October 7.

According to a police statement, a white man “with thick dark hair and a long dark beard” driving a Chevrolet SUV pulled into the parking lot of Congregation Beth Shalom. At the time, Alicia Nelson and her husband, Rabbi Emeritus David Nelson, were stopping by his synagogue office, and Alicia had stepped out to enter the building, reports The Jerusalem Post.

The driver of the car allegedly yelled at Alicia, “How are you doing, baby killer?” and yelled “F—ing b—tch!” as he drove away from the synagogue parking lot and parked in the lot of a nearby early childhood center.

Alicia Nelson then witnessed as the driver returning to the synagogue parking lot, where a Jewish woman, an employee of the synagogue, pulled up.

“He shouted something about Palestinians and Gaza and said, ‘I’m proud to be a “Jew-hater” and threw something at her,” said Alicia Nelson.

According to Oak Park Public Safety, the object the man threw at his second victim was a pair of work gloves wrapped in plastic.

Although the Nelsons said they weren’t physically harmed, the incident was upsetting. “It’s very, very disconcerting and tragic. It’s more antisemitism than I’ve seen in my entire life, and I’m not young,” said David Nelson, who is now 85.

Howard Fridson, president of Congregation Beth Shalom, warned against making too much of the incident. “We have been trying to keep this from becoming more than it is, which is basically some nut in a car screaming out of his window. It’s unfortunate that the situation in the world has given rise to these sentiments, but we know they are out there. I hope this is the end of it.”

“There is no room for instances of hate or violence in our community and I am proud of how diligently our Public Safety team works to ensure safety for everyone in Oak Park,” City Manager Erik Tungate condemned the incident. “Our diversity is our greatest strength and we will continue to protect it.”