Fred Mogul, Reporter, WNYC News
Fred Mogul has been covering healthcare and medicine for WNYC since 2002.
New Jersey Governor Chris Christie condemned the recent spate of anti-Semitic attacks in Bergen County a day after a Molotov cocktail was thrown at a synagogue in the town of Rutherford.
On Wednesday, several Molotov cocktails were thrown into Congregation Beth El, a small synagogue in the town of Rutherford. It is also the house of Rabbi Nosson Schuman and his family. No one was hurt.
“Clearly there is a purposeful campaign by one or more persons to do bodily injury to members of the Jewish community in Bergen County," Christie said in a statement. "I will not stand for it, and we will summon all necessary law enforcement resources to identify and prosecute those responsible."
The most recent attack comes after an attempted arson last week at a synagogue in Paramus, N.J. In December, drawings of swastikas were found on synagogues in Hackensack and Maywood.
“Unfortunately, when it comes to the Jewish community, the security needs are somewhat heightened, because of our unfortunate history,” said Etzion Neuer, from the New Jersey Anti-Defamation League.
Neuer said his group is urging both small and large Jewish institutions to reevaluate their security -- both so-called "hard" elements, like guards, cameras and locks, and "soft" measures, like general practices for monitoring who's coming and going.
The attacks could be prosecuted in federal court as hate crimes, potentially drawing stiffer penalties than conviction under state law.
Neuer said many in the community have been anxious – and an outpouring of public support has been helpful.
“We've seen churches and other houses of worship reach out to the Jewish community, and we've seen mayors and local elected officials speaking out,” Neuer said. “And that is reassuring.”