Accused vandals sued over Jewish cemetery destruction
A Rutherford resident whose parents’ gravestones were desecrated in a New Brunswick Jewish cemetery this month has filed a lawsuit against the four teenagers charged with causing the damage to nearly 500 headstones.
Mark Elfant is a member of Congregation Poile Zedek with familial ties to the congregation dating to the 1800s. Gerald Gordon, Elfant’s lawyer, said he is seeking monetary damages from the accused teenagers, their parents and anyone else involved. Damage has been estimated between $500,000 to $1 million.
“We’re not going to let them off the hook,” said Gordon, whose mother ran the cemetery for 30 years and who is handling the case pro bono. “The money we get will go to a fund for the restoration, security and perpetual care of the cemetery.”
Elfant’s mother, Ann Elfant, cared for the cemetery for five decades. His father, Morris Elfant, played a key role in creating the cemetery association. And his grandfather, Benjamin Elfant, was a founder of the congregation in the late 1800s.
Caryn Lipson, administrator at Congregation Poile Zedek, declined to comment.
“He is acting as a private citizen,” Lipson said. “This has nothing to do with the congregation.”
The commenters to the article all want to see something done. The idea that a 17 year old can commit such an act and walk away scot-free is bizarre.