Synagogues across New Jersey increase security in wake of anti-Semitic attacks
Synagogues across New Jersey have increased their security in the wake of a series anti-Semitic attacks.
The incidents have happened in New Jersey and in the surrounding areas. Five people were stabbed at a Hanukkah party in Monsey, New York over the weekend. Police are also investigating a vandalized menorah in Mendham. Four people were killed in the Jersey City shootings earlier this month, which included an anti-Semitic attack on a kosher grocery store.
Jewish leaders in the Garden State say that everyone should be prepared.
“All synagogues need to revisit and take a serious hard look at their security,” says Rabbi Eric Eisenkramer.
Eisenkramer says that a police car is always in front of his synagogue, B'ni Shalom. He says providing security is the new normal for synagogues statewide.
"You know, video cameras, guards and even simple things are sometimes the most important, like locking the door,” Eisenkramer says. There's a balance between making sure your temple is a welcoming place and also a safe place."
Gov. Phil Murphy says that New Jersey State Police will increase patrols at synagogues across the state.
Attorney General Gurbir Grewal says that New Jersey reported 569 bias incidents last year. Those of the Jewish faith were the most targeted, according to the data.
Juveniles were the offenders in 46% of the bias incidents, which is why Grewal says that schools in the state should address bias and hate.
In an editorial for the Star Ledger
, Grewal said, "Our educators do incredible work to ensure our kids have the skills necessary to thrive in the future. But are they doing enough to teach students how to be good, thoughtful human beings?"
Eisenkramer says that he tells his students to be what he calls an "upstander."
"That means that if you hear any comments or jokes that are offensive to anyone, you stand up and say, ‘No, that's not how we treat one another,’” Eisenkramer says.
Eisenkramer says that all houses of worship are under attack. He noted that a day after the Monsey incident, a church in Fort Worth, Texas, was targeted for violence.