The name of Rabbi Martin Halpern was misspelled yesterday in a story about the removal of anti-Semitic signs on the walls of the Shaare Tefila synagogue in Silver Spring.
Joe Rensin, 17, was not far from tears yesterday as he recalled how he felt when anti-Semitic vandals desecrated the walls of the Silver Spring synagogue that he and his family attend.
"It's like a piece inside of you being torn away," he said.
Several hundred Christians who said they wanted to express their sympathies converged on Shaare Tefila synagogue, near White Oak, yesterday to help scrub away the physical----and psychological----damage inflicted by the abusive slogans spray-painted on the building's walls last Monday night.
"We came because this is the way it started 40 years ago," said Kay Finan, referring to the Nazis' slaughter of the Jews in Germany. She, her husband, Joe, and their two children, members of the nearby St. John the Baptist Roman Catholic parish, came directly from their own church services. "We decided to bring our kids and show them . . . and to say no."
Barbara Harden, who arrived in work clothes, bringing scrub brushes and bottles of cleansers, was near tears as she gazed at the gaudy flaming cross bearing the letters "KKK" on the synagogue's back wall.
"I'm appalled that people can do this," said Harden, a member of Alpine Baptist Church in Rockville. She was concerned, she said, that Jewish young people might think Christians supported anti-Semitism and she wanted "to let them know that born-again Christians don't believe in this . . . that they are our brothers and sisters."
After the desecration was discovered, Shaare Tefila officials decided "not to sweep it under the carpet," said Marshall Levin, executive director, but to use the incident "to educate as many as possible" about the existence of anti-Semitism in the community.
The cleanup began yesterday afternoon, with the synagogue's youth wielding the brushes, "to channel their anger" over the incident, explained Rabbi Morton Halperin. While there were a few cheers as the youths began to attack the most visible piece of graffiti, it was a somber gathering.
In emotionally charged remarks to the nearly 800 people who gathered in the synagogue's social hall before the cleanup began, Rabbi Halperin called for the banning of the Ku Klux Klan and the American Nazi Party, who, he said, "hide behind the Constitution. . . . I find it very difficult to believe that the framers of our Constitution meant to protect . . . purveyors of hate."
Halperin explained that yesterday's cleanup "can't be more than symbolic," since the vandals' spray-paint penetrated so deeply that professional restorers must be employed to refinish the surface.
The psychological damage inflicted by the incident may also have gone deeper than was immediately apparent. At the regular Sunday morning class of the Shaare Tefila youth group yesterday, the regularly scheduled lesson on making choices went on as planned, with a film about Israel and only a passing reference to the desecration of the synagogue.
Yet when the leader asked at the end of the hour what they had learned, one youngster replied: " . . . That we should think about how others view us, and their view of us is not always positive."