Jewish artist twists anti-Semitic vandalism into a gorgeous neighborhood project of love and compassion.
A Philadelphia-area artist took what was meant as a hateful act of graffiti and turned it into a neighborhood project of understanding, art, and love, reports the Huffington Post.
Esther Cohen-Eskin stepped outside on the morning of August 19 to find a swastika, the most prominent symbol of anti-Semitism, had been painted on one of her trash cans. She reported the incident to police, but then took matters into her own artistic hands.
Cohen-Eskin reported on Facebook that she wished to “turn this symbol of hate into something beautiful,” so atop the yellow swastika, she painted an orange flower surrounded by white, pink, and green decorations.
Instead of rallying her neighbors to root out the culprit of the hate crime, Cohen-Eskin used Facebook and a mailbox campaign to encourage others to paint their garbage cans with messages of love. First, she wanted them to paint a swastika, then paint over it with “a flower, a peace sign, an animal, a doodle…anything your imagination can come up with.”
Gregg Eskin, the artist’s husband, was touched by his neighborhood’s positive response. “It just takes a small act of goodness to make you feel better in a world where there is so much negativity.”
The post has been shared on Facebook upwards of 1,500 times by people all across the country. A synagogue in San Francisco even used the story as their service, Cohen-Eskin learned.
Powerful community counter of disgusting vandalism. Always in awe of humanity's power for good. https://t.co/mY0EHylZuW
— Kristin G. Şekerci (@KGarritySekerci) August 30, 2016
Jenny Farley, a neighbor of Cohen-Eskin, who was quick to transform her garbage can into a symbol of hope and love said, “There is no place for hate anywhere, but there is especially no place for hate here.”
Not only did the support spread outside of her Havertown, PA neighborhood and across the country, but she’s even received messages from Canada and Ireland. Every time she turns on her phone, Cohen-Eskin says, she’s greeted with more beautiful pictures.