Friday, January 13, 2012

Northern New Jersey Wave of Anti-Semitic Attacks Has Jewish Community On Watch

A string of attacks against Jewish congregations in Northern New Jersey has communities on edge, and the most recent attack, involving a firebomb thrown at a synagogue in Rutherford that also is home to the rabbi and his family, is being treated as both a hate crime and attempted murder.

The attacks have been in Hackensack, Paramus, Rutherford, and Maywood.

In response to these attacks, law enforcement including state, county, and local police and the FBI, held a closed door meeting with rabbis and officials from more than 80 congregations across Northern New Jersey to outline security precautions and increased patrols.
Rep. Steve Rothman, D-Fair Lawn, said after a closed-door meeting in Paramus of Jewish religious and community leaders, politicians and law enforcement officials on Thursday night that most if not all of Bergen County’s police departments and the county sheriff’s office had committed to the patrols.

“We can have random but regular tours of all the houses of worship in every one of our communities,” Rothman said at a press conference after the meeting. “The major goal is to catch these perpetrators.”

The meeting, at the Jewish Federation of Northern New Jersey, was scheduled last week after a suspicious fire at a Paramus synagogue, the third bias crime against a Bergen County temple since Dec. 10. But the meeting took on new urgency Wednesday after an attack on Congregation Beth El in Rutherford in which a Molotov cocktail was thrown into the second-floor bedroom where Rabbi Nosson Schuman and his wife, Pessy, were sleeping.

The Schumans, their five children and the rabbi's father escaped without injury. Nosson Schuman said Thursday that he and his family would be under police protection for the foreseeable future.

“Usually lightning doesn’t strike twice, but sometimes it does,” he said. “Who knows the sickness of these people?”
There is also word that Fair Lawn police found anti-Semitic vandalism in a park near the Saddle Brook border.

An interfaith meeting will be held at the Rutherford congregation in solidarity with the Jewish congregation.

No arrests have been made in any of the incidents, and police don't think that the Fair Lawn incident is connected with the attacks on the Jewish congregations.

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