web analytics
February 28, 2015 / 9 Adar , 5775
At a Glance
News & Views
Sponsored Post


Heightened Security at New Jersey Synagogues

By:
Anti-Semitic vandalism in Brooklyn. (Illustrative Photo)

Anti-Semitic vandalism in Brooklyn. (Illustrative Photo)
Photo Credit: Sharon Miltz

NEW YORK (JTA) — As Jews in some northern New Jersey communities made their way to synagogue last Shabbat, the scene was slightly different from the typical day of rest.

Extra police cars were on patrol near synagogues. At Bnei Yeshurun in Teaneck, a new buzzer system had been installed. And at Ahavath Torah in Englewood, a phalanx of security guards stood sentry.

The heightened caution comes after a month of increasingly worrisome attacks against synagogues in Bergen County, an affluent part of New York City’s suburbs with a sizable Jewish population.

“There was a profound sense of unease this past Shabbat in Bergen County,” Etzion Neuer, the acting regional director of the New Jersey branch of the Anti-Defamation League, said this week. “It’s largely anecdotal, but in conversations I’ve had with individuals and community leaders, there is a strong sense of unease and real anxiety over what’s happened lately.”

What’s happened is a string of attacks against Jewish institutions. The attacks began on Dec. 10, when the exterior of Temple Beth Israel in Maywood was spray-painted with swastikas and the phrase “Jews did 9/11.” Eleven days later, Temple Beth El in neighboring Hackensack was similarly defaced with graffiti.

On Jan. 3, an arsonist targeted Congregation K’Hal Adath Jeshurun in Paramus, which borders Hackensack and Maywood. And on Jan. 11, five Molotov cocktails were thrown through the window of a synagogue and rabbi’s residence in Rutherford, burning the rabbi’s hands and forcing his family to flee from the building.

“As I was trying to smother the flames on the windowsill with my blanket, I looked out and saw another incendiary on the roof,” Rabbi Nosson Schuman told JTA. “That’s when I realized it was a hate crime.”

The attacks come as another New York area neighborhood, the heavily Jewish Midwood section of Brooklyn, saw a spate of incidents in recent months, including the torching of parked vehicles, threatening phone calls and swastikas. On Monday, police arrested a New York City Jewish man suspected in those attacks, raising the specter that anti-Semitism was not the motive.

In New Jersey, no arrests have been made in the attacks, which have undermined the sense of security of one of the country’s largest and most established Jewish communities. ADL tripled its original offer for information leading to the arrest of the Rutherford perpetrator, to $7,500, after community members chipped in their own money.

“You may get leaders who are publicly putting on a bright face but are privately concerned about their communities,” Neuer said. “Anxiety is not inherently healthy, but in this particular case it is natural, and what we would like is for leaders to channel that anxiety into better security policies.”

In an effort to do that, law enforcement officials met last week with representatives of more than 80 Jewish institutions to discuss security measures for synagogues and schools. The meeting, held at the Paramus headquarters of the Jewish Federation of Northern New Jersey, reviewed current procedures and introduced new measures for tightened security around Jewish communities.

“This is a new type of training for us,” said Ruth Gafni, principal of the Solomon Schechter Day School of Bergen County. “We have lived in such a peaceful way so far and we’ve been so blessed to feel so safe and secure. This attack has changed the playing field.”

Also over the past week, more than a dozen Jewish institutions have reached out for help to the Community Security Service, a nonprofit organization that provides training and services that aim to help tighten security at Jewish facilities.

Joshua Glice, the director of synagogue and school operations for the service, told JTA that he had conducted risk assessment studies this week for rabbis at their homes.

The attack that raised special concern in New Jersey was the Rutherford incident, which was the first anti-Jewish attack to result in injury.

At 4:30 a.m. on Jan. 11, Schuman was awakened by the sound of the Molotov cocktails entering his home, which is attached to the synagogue he leads. Schuman’s wife, children and parents escaped from the fire without injury, but the rabbi endured the burns to his hands. Bergen County’s prosecutor, John Molinelli, said he will charge the perpetrator with attempted murder, according to The Record newspaper.

“Someone was clearly trying to kill me and my family,” Schuman said, “not just damage the synagogue.”

According to the ADL, New Jersey typically reports one of the higher totals for anti-Semitic incidents in the United States, owing largely to its sizable and visible Jewish population.

The ADL’s 2010 national audit of anti-Semitic incidents reported 130 incidents statewide, placing New Jersey third in the nation after California and New York. The figure was 132 the previous year. Most of the incidents in the ADL survey are acts of harassment or vandalism; only a tiny minority are acts of physical violence.

About the Author:


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

No Responses to “Heightened Security at New Jersey Synagogues”

Comments are closed.

Current Top Story
18,000 Iranian Centrifuges
Reducing Iran’s Number of Centrifuges Makes a Bomb More Likely
Latest News Stories
Actor Leonard Nimoy in 1967, who was best known for his role as Mr. Spock in the iconic 1960s television series "Star Trek," passed away at age 83 on Friday, Feb. 27, 2015.

Actor Leonard Nimoy, 83, “lived long and prospered” but on Friday moved on to explore the Next World.

18,000 Iranian Centrifuges

Iran already has enough centrifuges for a nuclear weapon.

Underground tunnel found near the Egyptian border. Archive photo.

Learning lessons from Protective Edge, Israel is building an underground training field, and will train special units in tunnel warfare.

Israel Nature and Parks Authority Director-General Saul Goldstein at the inauguration of the new Israel Bike Trail's southern segment this week.

The unique desert landscape that covers large parts of Israel allow for its positioning as a leading destination for cyclists, with a comfortable climate year-round and spectacular desert scenery.

Once again al Quds’ Said Arikat used the State Dept. Briefing room to slander Israel with false “facts.”

“If no one is infallible, how is it possible that Netanyahu in his opposition to a potential Iran deal is wrong and you guys are all right?”

US Intelligence Chief Says ISIS ‘low priority’ for Turkey.

Thousands of ultra orthodox Jews attend the wedding of the granddaughter of the rabbi of the ultra orthodox Jewish Kretchnif dynasty in Kiryat Tsanz, Netanya.

Kerry not only is evading Netanyahu but also is trying to upstage him.

House Speaker John Boehner asserts next week’s speech to Congress by Israeli PM Netanyahu won’t hurt US-Israel relations.

Jordan and Israel signed an historic agreement Thursday to implement the Red Sea-Dead Sea rescue pipeline project.

National Security Adviser Susan Rice and US Ambassador to the UN Samantha Power will represent the Obama administration at AIPAC next week.

A NYC jury has convicted Al Qaeda’s ‘minister of communications’ on charges connected to the 1998 bombing of a US embassy in East Africa.

Netanyahu to meet with bipartisan congressional leadership before he addresses the joint session of Congress on March 3.

Jihadi John, the British beheader in Daesh-land (Islamic State) has been tentatively identified as Mohammed Emwazi, a Brit, born in Kuwait, who grew up in West London and has a degree in computer programming. His former friends who have identified him, and are positive its him.

An Arab tried to stab an IDF soldier at the Gush Etzion junction on Thursday evening.

More Articles from JTA

More than 20 cars and buildings in a Jewish community in north London were vandalized with swastikas. The Nazi symbol was drawn on approximately 27 cars in the Osbaldeston Road area of Stoke Newington on Sunday night, The Daily Mail reported. An unnamed 32-year-old man was arrested in connection with the vandalism Tuesday. The neighborhood […]

New York State Assemblyman Dov Hikind called on the Jewish community to attend the funeral of an assassinated New York police officer. “The brave men and women of the NYPD risk their lives every day to protect us. We value them and stand with them,” Hikind, a Democrat who represents Brooklyn, said in a statement […]

“Move Jew” scrawled on a Philadelphia home and slurs written on a synagogue and 10 garages in Chicago.

The Nazis nearly destroyed the 17th synagogue.

Cuba has “the largest pool of untapped baseball talent in the world, and Major League Baseball may tap and leave Cuba dry.

Argentina’s president Christina Fernandez has accepted an official Jewish godson for the first time in the country’s history to help counter legend of death to a seventh son. She described in seven tweets her meeting with her new godson, Yair Tawil, a member of a Chabad-Lubavitch family. He was adopted as a godson under a […]

A fundraising campaign started quietly by two first graders two years ago to help find a cure for a rare genetic disease just passed the $1 million mark.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/heightened-security-at-new-jersey-synagogues/2012/01/18/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: