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Anti-Semitic incident under investigation in Bloomington

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. (WISH) — Bloomington Police says it is investigating a case where a religious artifact was vandalized last month.

Officers responded to the 400 block of North College Avenue, where the victim said their Mezuzah was ripped off a doorway and partially burned. A Mezuzah is a decorative case that contains a Hebrew verse from the Torah and is usually placed in the door frame of a Jewish home.

Indiana University Professor of Jewish Studies and founder of IU institute for the study of antisemitism Alvin Rosenfeld said, “Last year continuing into this year, there have been some ugly incidents involving the stripping of Mezuzahs.”

He says Indiana University has historically been very welcoming to the Jewish community, and there are a large number of Jews who attend the university. He believes these incidents reflect an increase in antisemitism around the country.

“When the economy goes down, antisemitism goes up because outrageously Jews are blamed for that and all kinds of other things,” Rosenfeld said.

Rosenfeld serves on an advisory board that is studying antisemitism on campus. Although no one has been hurt in these incidents, Rosenfeld worries they could escalate into something serious.

He blames social media for fueling antisemtism.

“There is a great deal of hate on Twitter against Jews and others, and students just like anyone else spend endless hours on social media, being exposed to this stuff,” Rosenfeld said.

Jeremy Chung Ho Park Patzelt was charged with criminal mischief in this case.

Patzelt has a court date scheduled for Nov. 15. Bloomington police says this case remains active.