Edison, NJ - After Pattern of Bias Crimes Rabbi Wants Parents to be Responsible
Edison, NJ - Months after a series of anti-Semitic attacks and acts of vandalism rocked the Jewish community in Middlesex County, a new rash of incidents has Rabbi Bernhard Rosenberg of Congregation Beth-El in Edison asking lawmakers to hold parents responsible for the bias crimes committed by their teenage children.
“I’m calling for legislation to not only hold the kids responsible but to hold the parents financially responsible. They should be made to pay a major fine. Otherwise I think we’re chasing our tails,’’ Rosenberg said. “I’m tired about hearing about swastikas.’‘
Township police Wednesday said they’re investigating the origin of a swastika that was found scrawled on a bathroom door in the Edison Public Library.
An employee of the Plainfield Avenue branch discovered the drawing, which is up to 18 inches in diameter, Lt. Sal Filannino said Wednesday. No arrests have been made.
There was also a report of windows shattered at a Metuchen synagogue two weeks ago. Metuchen police and the congregation’s president did not return calls for comment.
Rosenberg’s congregation was targeted on Sept. 29 by vandals who spray-painted large blue swastikas, symbols of the anti-Semitic Nazis, on the front of the building. The symbols were found the morning after the end of the holy Jewish holiday Yom Kippur.
That same day, Highland Park police arrested a Somerset County teenager on charges he leaned out of a vehicle on Raritan Avenue, shouted “Hail Hitler,’’ and gave a Nazi salute to three Jewish residents.
A few weeks earlier on Rosh Hashanah an Edison teenager was accused of punching a Jewish man on Woodbridge Avenue near Route 1. The 16-year-old was charged with juvenile counts of aggravated assault and bias intimidation.
The investigations into the graffiti at the congregation as well as Nazi symbols left at Paterniti Park in October are still under investigation, Filannino said.
“I’m convinced the police are not going to catch these kids. But if we do catch them I’d like to set an example,’’ Rosenberg said a day after reading in the Home News Tribune about an 11-year-old Jewish boy being hit with pennies by a bully at Woodbridge Middle School.
Rosenberg said there might be a spike in anti-Semitic crimes because “the tendency is to blame the Jews when the economy goes wrong.’‘
“I don’t think they (the children) wake up hating Jews. It all comes from their parents,’’ he said. “But until there is legislation to actually go after the parents, it’s not going to stop.’’
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