Religions and Spirituality

Anti-Semitic Graffiti Found at South Mountain Reservation; Community Responds

9926641cab0c17c4fcee_graf_3.jpg
Anti-Semitic graffiti on pedestrian bridge at South Mountain Reservation.
9fd89affe35911bd303b_graf_1.jpg
Anti-Semitic graffiti on pedestrian bridge at South Mountain Reservation.
bf75c690854bbf3954fa_graf_2.jpg
96f1bc2178772151581a_graf_removal.jpg
Anti-Semitic grafiti was removed by Essex County Parks on Tuesday.
b19f04514d97b1eded2c_graf_removal_2.jpg
Removal of anti-Semitic graffiti from pedestrian bridge. Credits: Jon Levine
9926641cab0c17c4fcee_graf_3.jpg

SOUTH ORANGE, NJ - Anti-Semitic graffiti was found on the pedestrian bridge that crosses South Orange Ave., at the South Mountain Reservation. Removal of the graffiti by Essex County Park employees began shortly after it was reported on Tuesday morning.

According to an update from South Orange Village President Sheena Collum on her Facebook page, she first found out about the graffiti at about 11:30 a.m. on Tuesday, when a resident shared photos of the bridge with her.

Upon learning of the graffiti, "the South Orange administration and public works departments coordinated immediately with the County and within one hour, the County Parks Department staff were out addressing the situation," stated Collum on Facebook.

Sign Up for E-News

Essex County Sheriff Armando Fontoura stated in a press release that investigators from his department are working with the Prosecutor’s Bias Crime Unit regarding "swastikas and intolerant language that were spray-painted on the equestrian bridge at South Mountain Reservation within the past 24 hours."

“This incident clearly supersedes mere mischievous behavior or graffiti and it cannot and will not be tolerated,” Sheriff Fontoura said. “We have already increased our uniformed and plainclothes patrols in the area. We have also deployed security cameras to this location. Furthermore, we have contacted and reinforced our security measures with the many Jewish community groups where our Bomb Squad and K-9 Unit have already been deployed.”

A cash reward of up to $10,000 for information in the case that leads to an arrest is available through the Crimestoppers program.

Many area rabbis were at the site to assist in the graffiti removal, including Rabbi Dan Cohen of Temple Sharey Tefilo-Israel in South Orange, Rabbi Matthew Gewirtz of Congregation B'nai Jeshurun in Short Hills, and Rabbi Jesse Olitzky of Congregation Beth El in South Orange.

Gewirtz stated in an email to TAPinto SOMA: "The hatred seems to be rampant these days….it rattles the soul of our community  I am heartened by the rapid response of local clergy and civil officials. We all need to stand together against hate and stand up in pride for who we are as a community"

Rabbi Jesse Olitzky of Congregation Beth El in South Orange posted to his Facebook page, "Thanks to the Essex County Park System for responding so quickly and swiftly to Anti-Semitic hate graffiti in South Mountain Reservation. This isn't who we are as a community and we won't let this graffiti define us."

Colllum posted to Facebook, "I'm incredibly disheartened that even in our towns which are known for our inclusion and diversity are not immune to the hatred that exists but at the same time, I remain inspired by the reactions and actions of our clergy, community leaders, and residents to stand up in solidarity against any act of hatred or bigotry. Continue the activism and fight back with love." 

Rep. Donald M. Payne also condemned the act of anti-Semitism, stating on Facebook, "I was disgusted to hear about this senseless act of anti-Semitism at the South Mountain Reservation Bridge. The wave of anti-Semitic threats around the country, including in New Jersey, is chilling, and we as a community must stand together against this hate. My deepest thanks and appreciation to the Essex County workers who swiftly removed the graffiti."

A "Candlelight Peace Patrol at the South Mountain Reservation Bridge" is planned for Tuesday evening from 5:45 p.m. to 6:45 p.m., details here. The event page on Facebook states, "Today, our community was defaced by anti-Semitic graffiti. We will stand up and say that we will not accept this. Please bring CANDLES and posters/artwork/messages of love, and meet at the bridge over South Orange Avenue at 5:45 for an informal candlelight peace patrol."

SOMA Action's Human Rights Committee will meet on Wednesday, March 1, at 7:30 p.m. at Beth El (222 Irvington Ave. in South Orange) to discuss this incident as well as have a general discussion about religious rights and "supporting people targeted by anti-Semitism and Islamophobia" according to an update on Facebook.

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News

Millburn/Short Hills

Video: Scoutmaster Ken Fineran Street Dedication Ceremony

May 21, 2018

MILLBURN, NJ - Millburn Township and Boy Scout Troop 17 of St. Rose of Lima honored the life and accomplishments of late Scoutmaster Kenneth W. Fineran on Sunday, May 20. Troop 17 Scouts, in conjunction with Millburn Township and St. Rose of Lima Church.

Millburn Student's Bike Stolen, Millburn Police Investigating

June 12, 2018

On June 5, 2018 Millburn Police Officer Tavares responded to the Louis Vuitton store at The Mall at Short Hills on a theft report. Louis Vuitton personnel report a black male with dread locks wearing a black t-shirt, red shorts, black leggings, and white/red sneakers took two pairs of sunglasses valued at $870.00 and left the store without making payment. The incident is under investigation by ...

Get Empowered to Help Prevent Suicide

June 12, 2018

Over the past week social media and the news have been filled with stories and articles encouraging people to seek help if they’re in emotional distress. There have been countless articles about the need to break the silence around the topic of mental health and suicide, and I am encouraged by the support people are extending to others.

Often, the death by suicide by prominent ...

Upcoming Events

Fri, June 22, 8:00 PM

Education Center, West Orange

Night Moves: Evening Guided Zoo Tours

Education Other

Carousel_image_5e177eaae57739064cd4_397f63ad2fb50392a776_29178074_2107642336134787_2638697507160326144_n

Sun, June 24, 11:00 AM

Totowa

MakerFest 2018

Wed, June 27, 6:00 PM

Reeves-Reed Arboretum, Summit

Inkubate

Arts & Entertainment Home & Garden

NCJW/Essex Hosts The Five Stages of Career Transition with Motivational Speaker Frederica Peterson

June 18, 2018

LIVINGSTON, NJ -- On Tuesday, June 12, 2018, Frederica Peterson, Motivational Speaker and Career Coach, MA, CPC, ELI-MP, engaged nearly 50 women at the Linda and Rudy Slucker NCJW/Essex Center for Women about moving forward in one’s career and in life. Peterson examined how many women feel stuck and trapped in negative thoughts, but how with the right mindset it’s possible to ...

Millburn-Short Hills Democratic Committee Looking to Fill District Leader Spots

ESSEX COUNTY, NJ - The Millburn-Short Hills Democratic Committee is stronger than ever and proudly represents itself along with Essex County Executive Joseph Di Vincenzo and newly re-elected Essex County Democratic Chairman LeRoy Jones at the Essex County Democratic Reorganization meeting.

The local committee currently has a record 29 of 32 District Leader spots filled. We have a female ...

Canada Goose Retail Expansion Includes The Mall at Short Hills

CANADA GOOSE CONTINUES RETAIL EXPANSION, ANNOUNCES THREE NEW STORES IN NORTH AMERICA

From the Temperate West Coast to the Cool North East: Set to Open in Vancouver, Short Hills, and Montréal

 

TORONTO, ON – Canada Goose Holdings Inc. (NYSE: GOOS, TSX: GOOS), today announced the next phase of its global retail expansion, opening three stores this fall in Short ...

Cool Ways to Save Money This Summer

As the summer temperatures rise, home cooling costs rise as well. But there are ways to help save money without sweating the heat:

To increase your cooling system’s efficiency by as much as 20%, get it checked out for summer.  A technician will clean the condenser, make sure you have the optimal amount of refrigerant, and ensure the airflow over the coil is ...