According to the New Jersey State Police, Jews are the religious group most frequently victimized by bias crimes, accounting for 34 percent of the total in 2010.
“These crimes are more serious than previous ones,” Neuer said. “Four incidents in such a short period of time in a concentrated area suggest something more significant in play here.”
Police as of Tuesday had not decided whether to treat the incidents as the work of a single perpetrator or not. A spokesman for the Hackensack police told JTA that the attack there and in Maywood are being treated as related incidents. The other two, he said, have no definitive connection.
Community leaders are more inclined to view the incidents as part of a single phenomenon, though they are hesitant to speculate on what lies behind the recent spate. Anti-Semitic incidents occasionally spike in reaction to rising tensions in the Middle East.
“I think that if there’s division amongst the Jewish people it shows weakness, and that’s when [anti-Semites] attack,” Schuman said. “We have to work on Jewish unity.”
Schuman added that the response following the attack showed that unity among all faiths is possible. At a Saturday night interfaith event organized to promote unity and support, more than 250 people of diverse religions attended.
“People have sent e-mails, gave donations and brought over food,” Schuman said. “We had a special kiddush. So many people came over with food that we had to share it with the community.”
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