Edison park is targeted in attack
In the fourth bias incident to hit the Middlesex County Jewish community since Rosh Hashana, about 15 swastikas were found scrawled on a slide at an Edison park.
The graffiti were discovered by a boy whose family belongs to a township synagogue that was defaced with swastikas hours after Yom Kippur.
The 12-year-old was with a friend Oct. 9 at Paterniti Park on Vineyard Road when they noticed the Nazi symbols written underneath the slide, according to the boy’s mother.
“I’m afraid they’ll come looking for us,” said the woman, who asked to remain anonymous because she feared retribution from those responsible. “I’ve already had one heart attack. I don’t want to have another.”
The boys also found the words, “F—- the Jews” written nearby, she said.
“The swastikas were written in pen,” said the mother. “You really couldn’t see them unless you sat on the slide. Considering everything that has just happened, they were very scared….”
The boy will celebrate his bar mitzva in the coming week at Congregation Beth-El, which was plastered with swastikas just hours after the end of Yom Kippur on Sept. 28.
The woman called her rabbi, Bernhard Rosenberg. She then called police and filed a report.
The incident was the latest in a recent series.
On the second night of Rosh Hashana, Sept. 19, a 19-year-old yeshiva student in Edison was jumped, sustaining a concussion and a gash above his eye. A 16-year-old Edison youth was charged as a juvenile with aggravated assault and had an additional bias intimidation charge filed against him.
On Yom Kippur evening, Sept. 27, in adjacent Highland Park, a 17-year-old leaned out the window of an SUV, gave the Nazi salute, and shouted “Heil Hitler” to three Jews walking home from synagogue.
Police arrested and charged a 17-year-old from Somerset County with harassment. His name was withheld because of his age.
“These continued acts of anti-Semitism are deplorable, whether they be from teenagers, preteens, or post-teens,” said Lee Livingston, president of the Jewish Federation of Greater Middlesex County. “It saddens everybody, not only in the Jewish community, but all communities among all people of good will.”
Livingston said he has been in contact with law enforcement agencies, adding, “I’m hoping and praying the perpetrators are caught very quickly and are subjected to the full force of the law so there won’t be any more of these incidents, including any copycat incidents.”
Rosenberg — who has been vocal in the media about the spate of incidents — believes the incidents reflect widespread coverage of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s Holocaust denial, the Bernard Madoff scandal, and negative attention given to Israel.
Rosenberg said that what worries him “is not only the swastikas, but when they said, ‘F’ the Jews, it sends a message to the Jewish community that these kids are either being taught by their parents or the media to hate Jews,” he said. “I don’t think they’re doing it as a joke and I don’t think they’re doing it because they have nothing better to do with their time.”