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TC SYNAGOGUE RECEIVES HATE MAIL

NEWS RELEASE

February 6, 2001

TRAVERSE CITY SYNAGOGUE RECEIVES HATE MAIL PACKAGE
Includes hate group literature and hand-written anti-Jewish message

Congregation Ahavat Shalom, a Jewish synagogue in Traverse City, Michigan, received a package of hate literature, including a hand-written note, on Monday, February 5. It is unclear at this time whether the package was mailed or hand-delivered to the synagogue office in Traverse City.

The package contained several pieces of literature authored by the National Alliance, an organization founded in 1970, that actively promotes racism and anti-Semitism, and attracts and has associated itself with violent terrorists over the past twenty years, according to the Anti-Defamation League. The package delivered to Congregation Ahavat Shalom contained stickers with hate messages directed to Blacks, Jews and homosexuals, a pamphlet on gun rights, another defaming Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and a newspaper advertisement on Israel scrawled with misspelled anti-Semitic graffiti. Traverse City police are now investigating.

"Obviously the person or people who sent this package are hate-mongers unable to assume personal and public responsibility for their racist message," said Rabbi Stacie Fine. "The intent was to frighten or intimidate, but I feel even more strongly about promoting a message of diversity, peace and justice. I feel confident that our community will stand together with Congregation Ahavat Shalom to shed light on these groups and their messages of hate and fear."

Rabbi Fine and Congregation Ahavat Shalom have been active in promoting human and civil rights in the community, and Fine recently spoke at the City’s Martin Luther King Day celebration. She indicated that this is not her first encounter with the National Alliance, but this is the first time such messages were sent to the Congregation as a whole.

Congregation Ahavat Shalom President, Gary Appel, said, "Our Congregation views this as an excellent opportunity to teach the public about the tactics and messages of such groups. Further, we hope that all people of goodwill will stand together when any minority group receives such messages."

The National Alliance is responsible for publishing The Turner Diaries, an extended fantasy novel of violent terrorism many credit with inspiring the 1995 bombing of the Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City by Timothy McVeigh.

"Ahavat Shalom remains dedicated to promoting a message of peace, community and safety for all persons," Rabbi Fine said. "This incident serves to remind the community that such groups are locally present. We must redouble our efforts at education and promoting diversity."

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