A group of teenagers tossed a metal pole through the window of a Brooklyn synagogue as members of the congregation observed the Sabbath on Saturday evening, police said.
“People were praying inside at the time,” a man who was at the temple on Franklin Avenue near Myrtle Avenue in Williamsburg told the New York Post on Sunday. “Everyone is upset already. So, this we don’t need this now.”
Police are reportedly searching for four boys around the age of 16 after a witness reported the attack at about 5:45 p.m. Saturday. The teens ran south on Franklin Avenue after smashing the window, police said. Officials estimated that the property damage exceeded $250.
“It’s the latest in a spate of anti-Semitic attacks in New York City,” the Post said. “Police on Saturday also released footage of a vandal who scrawled swastikas on a Brooklyn Heights wall.”
The incident comes, of course, in the wake of Saturday’s murder of 11 Jewish worshipers at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh, and after the recent wave of explosive devices sent to prominent Democrats, groups that promote tolerance are calling on politicians to tone down hyper-partisan rhetoric and ad hominem attacks they say are contributing to a national atmosphere of division, fear and even hatred, said NPR. “The reality is words have consequences,” noted George Selim, the Anti-Defamation League’s senior vice president of programs.
Law enforcement officials identified the alleged shooter as Robert D. Bowers, 46, a Pittsburgh resident who the FBI said was not previously known to law enforcement. He was charged with 29 counts of federal crimes of violence and firearms offenses, federal prosecutors said late Saturday.
The ADL termed the killings at Tree of Life synagogue the single deadliest attack on American Jewry. The group has been warning for months about what it calls an historic 60 percent rise in anti-Semitic incidents from 2016 to 2017, the biggest single-year increase in reported anti-Jewish hate since they started tracking such data almost 40 years ago.
“Swastikas scrawled into Jewish students’ notebooks. Headstones toppled and desecrated by vandals at Jewish cemeteries. Jews falsely blamed for challenges facing the nation. Year after year, decade after decade, anti-Semitism proves to be among the most entrenched and pervasive forms of hatred and bigotry in the United States,” noted MPR News.
“Jews make up only about 2 percent of the U.S. population, but in annual FBI data they repeatedly account for more than half of the Americans targeted by hate crimes committed due to religious bias. The Anti-Defamation League identified 1,986 anti-Semitic incidents in the U.S. in 2017, up from 1,267 in 2016, and also reported a major increase in anti-Semitic online harassment.”
By: Nili Kanclosen
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