Essex County News

Community Responds to Anti-Semitic Graffiti on South Orange Ave. Pedestrian Bridge at South Mountain Reservation

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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 workers began shortly after it was reported.

Several area rabbis were at the graffiti site, with Matthew Gewirtz, Senior Rabbi of Congregation B'nai Jeshurun in Short Hills and Maplewood resident stating, "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 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."

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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."

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