MANALAPAN– The display of discrimination so close to his hometown startled Keith Krivitzky.
More than a dozen swastikas, an emblem associated with hatred that was adopted by white supremacists after WWII, had been spray-painted on a car, telephone cable boxes, mailboxes and fences in the Monmouth Heights section of the township, said Krivitzky, Executive Director of the Jewish Federation of Monmouth County.
The perpetrator also wrote “Kill the Jews” on one piece of a white neighborhood fence, Krivitzky said.
“I don’t think that this neighborhood is any more Jewish than others,” Krivitzky, who grew up in the Freehold area, said. “I don’t see why this particular neighborhood would be targeted.”
The area is located in western Monmouth County, the home of tens of thousands of Jews, according to a statement released by the Federation. Monmouth County as a whole is home to roughly 75,000 Jews, Krivitzky said.
Krivitzky noted the timing of the incident as the Jewish High Holidays are approaching, Krivitzky said.
The Jewish High Holidays begin with Rosh Hashana and end with Yom Kippur, Krivitzky said.
Rosh Hashana is Sept. 16-18 and Yom Kippur for Sept. 25-26, according to the Jewish calendar.
“The Jewish High Holidays are a time of heightened attention, scrutiny and sensitivity because synagogues and Jewish organizations open their doors and welcome large segments of the Jewish community,” Krivitzky said.
The timing of the incident is particularly ironic as the Jewish Federation had just held a security training workshop for synagogues and its partners Wednesday night, Krivitzky said.
“Little did we know that night something would happen,” Krivitzky said. “This certainly highlights the need for preparedness as we go into the High Holidays.”
Despite the disturbing nature of the incident, Krivitzky said he is hopeful it will serve as a learning experience for the community as a whole.
“There are always those who espouse hate,” said Joe Hollander, president of the Federation, in a statement. “We recognize the actions of a few do not represent most in our country. Acts of hate are anti-American.”
Manalapan Township Police said the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office is handling the investigation.
The Prosecutor’s Office could not be reached for comment Thursday.
Source: The Asbury Park Press