Police Investigating Swastikas Scrawled Near NJ Jewish Center

Police are investigating the drawing of three swastikas outside a Jewish center in West Orange, New Jersey, last Shabbos.

The symbol was scrawled in chalk on the sidewalk in three places surrounding the center on the corner of Pleasant Valley Way and Woodland Avenue. Based on security camera footage, it appeared that the incident took place at about 9 a.m. on Shabbos.

A statement from West Orange Township said the swastikas were discovered by a jogger at 1:45 p.m. on Shabbos, then removed by a township public works crew after investigators combed the scene. The incident remained under investigation by the West Orange Police Department on Monday.

Leaders of the congregation said they were heartened by the support they had received from West Orange Mayor Robert Parisi and the Township Council, who in the statement condemned the act “in the strongest possible terms.”

“Such heinous and despicable actions against any one group or individual is considered an attack against us all and our deeply rooted community values,” town officials said in the statement. “Neighborly love, unwavering unity and mutual respect will rule the day as West Orange will continue to set the standard in always recognizing cultural diversity as our impregnable strength.

“Acts of anti-Semitism or bias attacks against any faction of our society, whether physical, verbal or symbolic, will not be tolerated in West Orange,” the joint release continued, also saying, “Those of our residents who bore witness to the Holocaust and the sacrifice of our World War II veterans are the enduring legacy of our fight against this specific bigotry today.”

Anyone with information is asked to call the West Orange Police Department at 973-325-4000.