Police are searching for whoever spray painted three swastikas on the front of the Congregation Beth El in Edison in second racially-charged incident in as many weeks for the township. This latest act of anti-Semitism occurred after Yom Kippur.
Police say a teacher arrived this morning to find the graffiti — three swastikas sprayed on the front of the building in blue paint. Two were scrolled on the glass doors at the main entrance, and a third was painted on brick nearby.
“We’re certainly not pleased with this kind of nonsense,” said Edison Police Director Brian Collier.
Officers are still investigating the matter and have not made an arrest.
WCBS Reporter Levon Putney spoke with Rabbi Dr. Bernhard Rosenberg who says the Anti-Defamation League is putting up a reward to catch whoever spray painted swastikas overnight.
“This was obviously done after Yom Kippur because as of 8 o’clock last night when we let out there were no swastikas at all here,” said Rabbi Rosenberg.
The swastikas seem to be spray painted backwards, and although covered on the outside, they’re still visible on the glass doors from the inside where kids are in school.
“Well, I’ve been through this before and I’m convinced that this is being done by teenagers because it’s not a professional job,” said Rabbi Rosenberg.
The Rabbi also notes that recently some teens were arrested for yelling “Heil Hitler” to some religious people. Rabbi Rosenberg says this incident may be some form of retaliation.
Because the vandalism is being called a bias crime, the Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office is also investigating.
Police would not say whether the incident is connected to the beating of a 19-year-old township resident, who was attacked during Rosh Hashanah last week. No one has been arrested in that crime, nor have police officially labeled it bias-related. The victim told officers that his attacker yelled anti-Semitic remarks while beating him.
“We’re not ruling it out,” said Lt. Joseph Shannon, referring to a possible connection between the incidents. “It’s open to interpretation.”
This is not the first time swastikas have turned up in town. Police found the Nazi symbol painted on the outside of a man’s car in the ShopRite parking lot on Old Post Road in July. A month earlier they found Swastikas painted on a fence on Hansen Road.