News

Special Service Held At Desecrated North Jersey Synagogue

Temple Beth El (credit: John Montone/1010 WINS)

Temple Beth El (credit: John Montone/1010 WINS)

HACKENSACK, NJ (CBSNewYork/AP) - An interdenominational service was held Tuesday at a Hackensack synagogue that was desecrated last week.

Community and church leaders joined members of the Jewish community to rededicate Temple Beth-El and demonstrate their “solidarity against hate.”

“The general message is simply that in the face of hatred good things can come out of it,” Temple Beth-El President Mark Zettler told 1010 WINS. “This will be the good result, meaning that so many people have come forward to show their solidarity from all different corners of life, all different religions and races.”

The synagogue’s door was spray-painted with a swastika last Wednesday. White supremacist symbolism was also found on the sidewalk.

“This was clearly an act of hatred and so we’re trying to create a very positive thing out of this very negative event,” Rabbi Robert Schumeister said.

Zettler expressed his disgust with those who committed the anti-Semitic act during Chanukah.

“It’s shameful and senseless and that as Jews we are often singled out for things in a way that is completely undeserving,” he said.

One congregant told Rabbi Schumeister that she didn’t feel safe going to temple after the vandalism and that it reminded her of what it was like for her in Europe.

Zettler does not want people to fear attending Temple Beth-El or any other temple due to hate crimes.

“If we fear or cower in any way, then whoever did this — whatever person or whatever groups did this — they win. We should just be going about our daily life,” Zettler said.

It was the second hate crime targeting a Bergen County synagogue within a week.

(TM and Copyright 2011 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2011 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)