Pa. town rallies around Jewish family hit by swastika graffiti
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.”
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