A swastika found spray-painted on a New City road Monday morning is stoking fears that it could be a message of hate meant for a prominent Jewish community advocate who lives nearby.
The foot-long blue swastika was discovered about 7:30 a.m. by a resident of Lady Godiva Way a few steps from where advocate Steve Gold lives.
"It's pretty disgusting," Gold, 58, told Newsday. "I'm hoping it's just a prank to rile the crap out of people. But I'm also concerned it could be about my work in the Jewish community. It's like a dagger went through my heart when I saw it."
Clarkstown police are investigating the incident and no arrests have been made. Rockland County workers have already painted over the graffiti.
"This is 2012 in Rockland County, Clarkstown, New City," Gold said. "If it's here it shows how prevalent it is elsewhere."
Gold, a past president of JCC Rockland, and his wife, Helene, are scheduled to be honored this month for their work at ceremonies at the Rockland Holocaust Museum in Spring Valley. Gold recently chaired the JCC's Minute of Silence Committee, a movement to recognize the 11 Israeli athletes killed during the 1972 Munich Olympics.
Rep. Nita Lowey (D-Westchester/Rockland) condemned the incident.
"This shocking act is another reminder that even in the most diverse and educated areas of the country, the scourge of intolerance and anti-Semitism must be erased," Lowey said. "All members of our community have a responsibility to reject intolerance and speak out against hate speech directed against individuals for no reason other than their religion."
The Holocaust had been the subject of breakfast-table talk in the Gold house Monday morning after a story in the New York Times reported how some grandchildren of Holocaust survivors have had their grandparents' death camp numbers tattooed on their skin.
"I asked my son what he thought and he said grandpa wouldn't like that since he had no choice," Gold said.
Tonight, he'll have another discussion with his 17-year-old about the swastika found outside their home. "I know he's going to be very upset, mostly because he's going to see how upset I am," Gold said.