Headline: Vandals tip tombstones, trash graves
Are we in Eastern Europe? The former Soviet Union? No, no, this took place right here in New Brunswick, New Jersey. Nathan Reiss of Congregation Etz Ahaim said Sunday’s vandalism at the Poile Zedek Cemetery came days after a similar incident was discovered on Thursday. Families of the buried will have to pay for all this damage. Many of these families are descendants of immigrants from Salonika and Turkey, hard-working people who became model American citizens. Read more about some of the families in Voices of Etz Ahaim. Others are Holocaust survivors, such as Menachem Simcha.
My husband said it will cost $200 and up just to repair one headstone. Some are not repairable. 499 headstones toppled.
Finally, the police is now calling this a bias crime. See the comments on Dov Bear.
“To say it was premeditated is an understatement,” said Poile Zedek administrator Caryn Lipson. “It had to be hours and hours of work by several people.”
From the Star Ledger:
Jack Oziel picked his way through the ruins of the vandalized Jewish cemetery yesterday, surveying hundreds of headstones toppled like dominos or lying in crumbled heaps.
He managed to locate the fragments of a granite Star of David that had marked his father’s grave lying on the grass. His mother’s tomb had cracked in half. And everywhere else Oziel looked, he saw more headstones of family and friends knocked down.
“I knew them all. I buried all these people. Now they are all in pieces,” Oziel, 91, said with red eyes as he surveyed the damage at the Poile Zedek Cemetery in New Brunswick.
And I know Jack Oziel. So I feel like I know all of those people buried there, too.
How can this be prevented? A surveillance camera? And who would do something so nasty?