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Interfaith Service Held To Counter Anti-Semitic Attacks In Bergen County

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Rabbi Nosson Schuman leading interfaith gathering at Felician College (credit: CBS 2)

Rabbi Nosson Schuman leading interfaith gathering at Felician College (credit: CBS 2)

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RUTHERFORD, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — An interfaith service at Felician College to show support for the Jewish community in Bergen County after a series of anti-Semitic attacks drew strong support Saturday.

More than a dozen religious institutions were represented at the evening service, CBS 2’s Dave Carlin reports.

“It’s about people coming together and showing support,” said Deacon John DiMeo of Saint Mary’s Parish. “Just because we’re of different faiths, it doesn’t really matter. We all believe in the same God.”

Support is pouring in for Rabbi Nosson Schulman, victim of a Molotov cocktail attack early Wednesday that set fire to his bedroom inside Congregation Beth El. Only days after the firebombing, he led the gathering.

“I think we can use this act of hatred an act of unity,” he said. “Use that hatred and turn it inside out to love.”

He roused his family, who got out of the burning building physically unharmed, but was rattled that someone meant them harm, even death.

“It really hit me that I am lucky to be alive,” said daughter Menuchah Schuman.

Schuman’s wife also said she hopes to turn the attacks into a positive.

“The burning crosses, the Molotov cocktails, they won’t conquer the love that we all have for each other in our world,” said Pessy Schulman.

The event also saw both the state’s U.S. senators as well as other politicians and leaders turn out.

“One of the strongest things a community can do collectively is to speak out against acts of violence and certainly on Martin Luther King observance weekend, I remember his words when he said injustice against one is injustice against all, and that’s in essence what the community’s coming together to say today,” said Sen. Robert Melendez.

Four bias attacks in Bergen County since December resulted in stepped up patrols at temples across the area.

Other bias crimes include another fire at a Paramus temple, and swastikas turning up at synagogues in Hackensack and Maywood.

Investigators say those crimes are likely connected.

“Catch whoever is doing this and they’ll think twice before doing something stupid like that,” DiMeo said.

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