More Antisemitism Close to Home


Jonah Peters

People gathered at Whitman to protest antisemitism

Bennett Galper

Antisemitic graffiti was found on Walt Whitman High School’s welcome sign on December 17. The words “Jews Not Welcome” were spray painted in white paint on the electronic portion of the school’s sign. The incident occurred three days after Whitman’s Jewish Student Union led the student body in a lesson about confronting antisemitism during the school’s “OneWhitman” program.

While the identity of the graffiti artist remains at large, Montgomery County Police and Whitman administrators are investigating the situation with plans to use disciplinary action against the perpetrator. Robert Todd, the principal of Walt Whitman High School, emailed all Whitman parents just hours after the graffiti was found.

“This behavior is abhorrent, extremely hurtful, and will not be tolerated at Walt Whitman High School,” wrote Todd. “Walt Whitman High School will continue to use education and restorative practices to engage our students in conversations about respecting and celebrating our diverse community.”

Whitman Senior Sophie Hummel appreciates that Whitman’s administration addressed the graffiti, but she added, “It feels like most of the time OneWhitman is the only solution they think of and I’d really like to see more conversations and attention to antisemitism at our school.”

Charlie Rabiman, a B-CC junior and president of the Jewish Culture Club, said that incidents like these “make me question my safety at school and at MCPS events.”

In response to the incident, Washington Hebrew Congregation Senior Cantor Susan Bortnick will hold a nightly hanukkiyah (the lighting of the menorah for Hanukkah) at Whitman in front of the defaced sign every night until the last night of Hanukkah.

“Together we raise our voices in song, and proudly affirm our Jewish pride,” wrote Senior Cantor Bortnick as she invited the greater community to the event.