Addison-Penzak JCC in Los Gatos
Addison-Penzak JCC in Los Gatos

Los Gatos JCC tagged with swastika over High Holidays

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The Addison-Penzak JCC was defaced with a swastika over the High Holidays, one of three sites in Los Gatos where similar graffiti was found last month.

The JCC vandalism was discovered on Sept. 16. “That was on Yom Kippur,” said the JCC CEO Lael Gray. “We actually were closed that day.”

Police were notified about the three swastikas drawn over the span of a few days, according to a press release sent out on Monday by the city of Los Gatos. One was discovered across the street from the JCC at a private apartment complex; the other was at the retail center Blossom Hill Pavilion.

The JCC graffiti was found by a security guard while fresh and was removed immediately. Gray said the police response was immediate and “amazing.” The incidents are still being investigated.

“We shared what we had — the footage —from that time-frame,” Gray said.  

She said the JCC and the town government were taking the malicious graffiti as a chance to open a wider discussion. The city, the JCC and other partners, including Jewish Silicon Valley, the Los Gatos Union School District and the Los Gatos Clergy Association, an interfaith group, are organizing a “walk against hate” to coincide with the Bay Area’s United Against Hate Week in November.

While Gray called the swastika “a nuisance” and “frustrating,” she said there was a way to make it work for good rather than sow fear and division. 

“Guess what?” she said. “It’s having the opposite effect. It’s bringing the community together.” 

Los Gatos was also in the news in recent months after 32-year-old resident Wesley Martines was found in nearby Campbell with a cache of weapons and high-capacity magazines in his pickup truck, along with a journal bearing racist and antisemitic writings. Farukh Mamedov was recently given an award for tipping the police off about suspicious activity that led to Martines’ arrest.

Maya Mirsky
Maya Mirsky

Maya Mirsky is a J. Staff Writer based in Oakland.