Pa. town ral­lies around Jewish fam­ily hit by swastika graf­fiti

Baltimore Sun - - NATION & WORLD -

HAVER­TOWN, Pa. — A Jewish woman in subur­ban Philadel­phia woke up last week to a spray­painted swastika on her trash bin, and now her neigh­bors and strangers from other coun­tries are ral­ly­ing to sup­port her by paint­ing their own garbage cans with flow­ers, hearts, birds and but­ter­flies.

Es­ther Co­hen- Eskin was stunned when she went out­side Aug. 19 and saw the Nazi sym­bol on her bin.

She said she felt tar­geted be­cause the sign didn’t ap­pear any­where else in her Haver­town neigh­bor­hood, where she’s lived for al­most 20 years.

She spoke to her hus­band and called po­lice, who have be­gun an in­ves­ti­ga­tion.

She called a friend for ad­vice and he told her: “The only way to tri­umph (over) hate is with love.”

Hear­ing that, Co­henEskin, an artist, de­cided to paint over the swastika with flow­ers, and to stick let­ters in mail­boxes ask­ing her neigh­bors to paint their trash bins as well, turn­ing sym­bols of hate into sym­bols of love.

“I still get goose bumps,” said Me­gan Con­nell, one of Co­hen-Eskin’s neigh­bors. “I had to ex­plain to my 3-year-old that some­one could do some­thing so ugly, and we took it as a fam­ily thing.”

Af­ter she sent the let­ters, Co­hen-Eskin went out for an art show — and came back to hun­dreds of mes­sages and phone calls from peo­ple as far afield as Canada, Ger­many, and Ire­land. Many sent pic­tures of trash cans they painted in a show of sup­port.

Now, Co­hen- Eskin wakes up ev­ery morn­ing to new pic­tures of beau­ti­fully painted bins from all over the world.

“It gave me a whole new re­as­sur­ance in hu­man­ity,” she said. “I feel in­vig­o­rated by all the love. It’s ex­cit­ing it makes you feel there’s so much good out there.”

YOUSSEF KARWASHAN/GETTY-AFP

Syr­ian sol­diers take a breather Fri­day in the be­sieged town of Daraya as dozens of in­sur­gents and their fam­i­lies pre­pare to leave the war-wrecked sub­urb of Da­m­as­cus, the cap­i­tal. Mean­while, the U.S. and Rus­sia made in­cre­men­tal gains dur­ing a meet­ing in Geneva to forge a com­pre­hen­sive agree­ment to end the 5-year-old war.

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