During an outdoor Yom Kippur service on Sept. 27 at IU Hillel, someone passing by in a car yelled an anti-Semitic statement, IU Police Department Deputy Chief Shannon Bunger said.
Members were having the service on the lawn of the building as a COVID-19 safety precaution. IUPD took a case report but is not actively investigating because no one could give a car description or license plate number. Bunger said this would change if they were to get any tips or information.
IU freshman Hannah Pelletiere, who was at the service, said it was late when this happened and made her feel paranoid the rest of the night, she said.
Pelletiere said she feels there has been a rise of anti-Semitism, and she gets nervous to go to her temple at home.
“Here it’s just different because we’re all outside like sitting in the front lawn, so all of us kind of figured something like this might happen eventually,” she said. “But it’s scary.”
IU freshman Gabriella Smith, who was also at the service, said she felt unsafe after the incident because they were out on the front lawn with no security. She said she feels like anti-Semitic behavior has become so normalized for her that she wasn’t surprised at first. It took her a couple of minutes to process what had happened, Smith said.
“There’s been so many shooting and anti-Semitic acts,” Smith said. “Even though it was just words, that doesn’t mean they can’t take action later.”
Smith said she knows she shouldn’t feel scared, but she thinks about how there are threats everywhere. She said the incident made her more nervous about going to future services.
IU Hillel leader Rabbi Sue Silberberg requested for IUPD to patrol IU Hillel more in response to the incident, Bunger said.
IU Hillel posted a statement about the event Oct. 2.
“We are deeply saddened and outraged by the anti-Semitic shouts during our Yom Kippur evening services and firmly believe that these are the unacceptable and intolerable acts and/or beliefs of a small minority,” IU Hillel said in a statement on social media.
Dean of Students Dave O’Guinn condemns the actions of the individuals who yelled the anti-Semitic remarks and encouraged others to shine light on this issue, he said in a statement on social media.
“I passionately stand by our Jewish students, faculty and staff as they celebrate their cultural and religious traditions to pray in peace,” he wrote.