It’s been nearly 7 months since Temple Beth El on Capital Avenue in Battle Creek was deliberately vandalized.   Motorists who routinely drive Capital from Verona toward downtown may have gotten used to the sight of the puzzling spray-painted graffiti.  If you haven’t been past Temple Beth El lately, you may wonder why it hasn’t been repaired yet, and if anyone has been brought to justice.  Despite a $5,000 reward for information about the vandalism, no one has been arrested, let alone brought to justice.

The front of the temple at 306 Capital Avenue N.E. was first damaged last November 23rd, when someone used a tool like a hammer and/or chisel to chip away at the concrete menorah sculpture that is built into the brick exterior.   Then, in early January, someone spray painted a puzzling symbol over the sculpture, as well as the letters L-I-E-R.   So far, police have not found any experts that can associate it with any known groups.

Battle Creek Police Lt. Jim Martins says there have not been any leads on the Beth-el case. He says they have not found any other incidents similar to this case. and no experts have come back with any further. information.

WBCK reached out to the temple to find out the status of the repair, and to ask why spray paint is still visible.   Temple Beth El Co-President Larry Kaiser says they plan to have a new security and surveillance system in place before the damage is repaired.

“We have been working with neighbors, local police prevention officers, the Anti-Defamation League, Silent Observer, glass, window,  and door safety contractors, electrical and lighting contractors, locksmiths, closed circuit camera contractors, internet service  providers, and masonry repair contractors to ensure we have the right combination of services to protect the newly restored sculpture on the front of the building.”

Kaiser added that several of those steps have been completed.  “We want security in place before we take the final steps to repair the damaged menorah sculpture so it is secured in each step of its restoration. The replacement of the damaged sculpture is near the final stage. “

Kaiser said they are a small group and the time the process takes is significant.

A $5,000 reward is being offered for information.  Battle Creek Silent Observer put up $3,000 and the Anti-Defamation League then added another $2000.

There are several ways to submit a tip:

  • Call 269-964-3888 to submit an anonymous tip.
  • Citizens also can text tips! Dial CRIMES (274-637), then text "SOTIP" and text a message.
  • Visit the Crime Reports website.
  • Download the free TipSubmit Mobile app for Android or iPhone.
Temple Beth El-Google Street View