Threats and Vandalism Across Country Leave American Jews on Edge

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From the vandalism at the Philadelphia, PA cemetry.

Daniella Pimpinella, Staff Reporter

About a hundred headstones were toppled at a Jewish cemetery in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Volunteers helped to clean up the gravesites and online donations have been flooding in. In fact, Muslim activists have helped raise more than $130,000 to help restore vandalized cemeteries.

This is the second such major act of vandalism at a Jewish cemetery. It comes not long after the shooting of two Indian immigrants in Kansas, by a man who witnesses claim shouted “Get out of my country!”

At the beginning of an address to Congress on the following Tuesday night, President Trump said such episodes, “remind us that while we may be a nation divided on policies we are a country that stands united in condemning hate and evil in all of its very ugly forms.”

“The person or persons doing this have broken the law, and its the responsibility of our system to investigate it and apprehend the individual or individuals responsible,” said David Posner, according to the NY Times.  Posner is the director of strategic performance for the Jewish Community Center (JCC) association of North America.

Several JCCs around the country have had callers making bomb threats, which has caused closures and in some cases evacuations.  No bombs have been found so far.

Police are still trying to figure out why these acts are happening. Combined with the recent vandalism at Jewish cemeteries near St. Louis, Missouri, some citizens fear that a virulent anti-Semitism has increasingly taken hold in the early days of the Trump administration.

Though some people had suspected that the calls were recorded and automated, there was evidence to the contrary. In Milwaukee, for instance, a switchboard operator asked questions and received responses from the caller, said Mark Shapiro, the president of the Harry and Rose Samson Family Jewish Community Center.

Family and friends of the people’s tombstones being destroyed are devastated over these actions.

Police (including the FBI and Homeland Security, now) are still investigating these cases and are trying to prevent other actions to happen involving cases like this.