HACKENSACK, NJ (CBSNewYork) –Police in New Jersey are looking for the vandals who painted swastikas outside of synagogues in Hackensack and Maywood.

CBS2’S Sean Hennessey was in Hackensack, where locals were sickened by symbols of hate as the menorah candles flickered on the second night of Chanukah.

Rabbi Simon Glustrom of the Temple Beth El, likened the vandals to snakes.

1010 WINS’ John Montone reports

“It is time for these people to show their venom, and they did it. They did it,” he said.

On the sidewalk in front of the temple, vandals accused the Jewish people of being behind the September 11th attacks. Then on the front of the Temple, they spray painted the ultimate in anti-Semetic symbols, the swastika,  three of them.

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

“In many ways this has become symbolic, the swastika and you would think it would be long gone from the memory of people but it always crops up its ugly head, time and again,” said Glustrom.

Swastikas cropped up at a temple in neighboring Maywood last week, they were eventually scrubbed and painted over.

Maywood resident Richard Price took stock of the heinous act.

“If it was done by kids it’s just plain stupidity and ignorance. If it was done by adults it was a very mean thing to do,” he said.

Price is a retired Maywood police officer and could not remember a similar incident occurring in the past.

“I think it’s absolutely disgusting and appalling that somebody would do that in this day and age. These are nice people and they certainly don’t deserve to be treated like this,” he said.

Hackensack resident Helen Glustrom expressed the rage that she felt towards the perpetrators. Telling CBS2’s Sean Henessey that the vandalism made her feel, “Mad, always angry, always, of course sad.”

Temple Beth El President Mark 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.

Zettler added that he hopes that people will continue to attend Chanukah services and that if they cower and stay home the vandals will have won.

What could cause a person to act out in this manner during the holidays? Share your thoughts in our comments section…

Comments (4)
  1. Vicki Zettler says:

    Proud of my big brother…sad for all of us.

  2. Jill Astmann says:

    @nathan. there is a big difference between freedom of expression and a hate crime, According to the FBI and Congress :”A hate crime is a traditional offense like murder, arson, or vandalism with an added element of bias. For the purposes of collecting statistics, Congress has defined a hate crime as a “criminal offense against a person or property motivated in whole or in part by an offender’s bias against a race, religion, disability, ethnic origin or sexual orientation.” Hate itself is not a crime—and the FBI is mindful of protecting freedom of speech and other civil liberties.” The law broken was vandalism, ie the spray painting on property that did not belong to the alleged. That makes it a hate crime.

  3. nathan says:

    This is freedom of expression. What’s wrong with it?

    1. Dena says:

      This is not freedom of expression. The shul is not their property and they cannot destroy another groups property in the name of “free speech”.

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