Investigation launched after third Jewish cemetery vandalism in recent weeks

 

 

Overturned headstones at the Waad Hakolel Jewish cemetery in Rochester, N.Y. Credit: YouTube screenshot.

(JNS.org) In what appears to be the third attack on a Jewish cemetery in the U.S. in recent weeks, more than a dozen headstones were damaged at the Waad Hakolel Jewish cemetery in Rochester, N.Y., Thursday, following similar incidents near St. Louis and in Philadelphia.

"We are actively investigating the circumstances which led to the damage of the headstones," Rochester Police Department spokesperson Investigator Jacqueline Shuman said in a statement. "There are currently no suspects in custody at this time, but we will continue to update everyone on any new developments."

The Anti-Defamation League (ADL), which reported at least 16 headstones were toppled at the Rochester cemetery, is offering a $5,000 reward for information leading to an arrest in connection with the case.

“We are deeply disturbed by the vandalism committed against the Jewish community’s cemetery in Rochester,” said ADL New York Regional Director Evan R. Bernstein. “Coming on the heels of two other similar attacks on Jewish cemeteries in other cities, it is that much more troubling, and we hope authorities can bring the perpetrators to justice and send a message that this kind of behavior is simply unacceptable.”

Additionally, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has ordered the State Police to investigate the vandalism as a possible hate crime.

"The State Police Hate Crimes Task Force, in partnership with federal and local authorities, have launched aggressive investigations into reported hate crimes across the state,” Cuomo said. 

Posted on March 3, 2017 .