Jewish single mother in LA left ‘shaking’ after top pastor draws swastika on her groceries

When confronted the pastor said the symbol was a peaceful one


A retired pastor in California drew a swastika on the groceries of a Jewish neighbour (Photo: screenshot)

(JNS) A former senior leader for the United Methodist Church in California has drawn a swastika on the groceries of a Jewish neighbour who she alleges previously called a “fascist” for displaying an Israeli flag on her balcony.

On 5 December, Leah Grossman caught via a doorbell camera her neighbour Mark Nakagawa, a recently retired pastor, drawing a swastika with a black pen onto a 12-pack cardboard box filled with seltzer water that was delivered to her door.

“I just shattered. I just fell to pieces. I’ve never shook like that before. My toes were shaking,” Grossman, a single mother of two sons who lives in the West Hollywood neighbourhood of Los Angeles, told her local CBS News station.

“I get emotional thinking about it because it reminds me of all the people I know, my family, my children.”

She added: “What’s going on in the world has really opened up a crevasse of antisemitism and I think people feel really emboldened to push Jewish people around. People just shouldn’t get away with this.”

Grossman initially confronted Nakagawa in the act, during which he denied everything.

Only later, when shown the video evidence, did he attempt to rationalise his actions, claiming that he intended to teach his neighbour that the symbol – originating in Buddhism and Hinduism – meant peace.

“The way I went about it, in hindsight, the way I went about it was not the right way to go about it,” said Nakagawa. “It was bad judgment on my part. I realise that.”

Grossman told CBS that Nakagawa had apologised to her but she rejected it. “I know in my heart of hearts that it’s completely self-serving, has nothing to do with any kind of contrition as far as what was done to me, what was done to my children,” she said.

Grossman alleges that Nakagawa had previously called her a fascist at a homeowner’s association meeting for hanging the Israeli flag from her window.

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