Calif. Messianic pastor’s home vandalized with swastika


The home of a Messianic pastor in California was vandalized with a swastika.

A swastika and the word “Jew” were painted on the Hemet, Calif., home that Pastor Michael Rose shares with his wife and children, The Press-Enterprise newspaper reported.

Police are investigating the vandalism as a hate crime. Rose, pastor at the Light of Love Chapel, discovered the vandalism on Thursday morning.

Self-identified Messianic Jews embrace Christian theology and adopt some Jewish practices. Some are of Jewish ancestry, though many are not. Jewish groups have objected to the movement’s use of terms such as “Messianic Judaism” as misleading.

Jewish graves vandalized at Mount of Olives


More than a dozen graves at the Mount of Olives cemetery in Jerusalem were vandalized, the latest in a series of attacks on one of Judaism’s oldest cemeteries.

On June 14, some 14 graves were damaged by Arab youths wielding sledgehammers, according to private security guards stationed at the iconic cemetery located in eastern Jerusalem. At least five of the damaged gravesites are those of Americans buried in the cemetery, according to Rabbi Moshe Bezalel Buzokovsky of the Chevra Kadisha.

The recent damage is in addition to vandalism sustained at the cemetery last month on Nakba Day, or Catastrophe Day, when Arabs mark the declaration of the state of Israel. During riots on the Temple Mount, Palestinians hurled large rocks and boulders toward the graves, chipping and breaking at least 15. Arab youths also vandalized or destroyed nearly 40 newly installed surveillance cameras in the cemetery, according to the International Committee for the Preservation of Har HaZeitim. Har HaZeitim is the Hebrew name for the Mount of Olives.

At the same time, local Arabs began illegally expanding a mosque to within 15 feet of the grave of Menachem Begin, according to the committee.

In the last year, efforts of the committee have resulted in the restoration of 2,000 of an estimated 40,000 graves that were destroyed prior to 1967 under Jordanian rule, an increased private security presence as well as the installation of 50 surveillance cameras and fluorescent lighting.

There are an estimated 150,000 graves on the Mount, where Jews have been buried since biblical times. Notable individuals buried there include the prophets Zechariah, Malachi and Hagai; famous modern rabbis such as Aryeh Kaplan and Ahron Soloveichik; Henrietta Szold, founder of Hadassah; Hazzan Yossele Rosenblatt; and British Parliament member Robert Maxwell.

Atlantic City Jewish cemetery vandalized


Some 15 gravestones were toppled in a Jewish cemetery in Atlantic City, N.J.

The attack on the Rodef Sholom Cemetery reportedly took place just before the Memorial Day holiday weekend, according to the Press of Atlantic City. Police believe that more than one vandal was involved because of the heaviness of the gravestones but have no suspects.

The damage to the gravestones is fixable but will be expensive because large cranes are needed to lift the stones, the Press reported. Relatives of the deceased will be notified of the damages.

The cemetery reportedly is often a spot for drinking and drug use.

Cemetery groundskeeper Dennis Kraus told the Press that he didn’t think it was a hate crime against the Jewish people.

“I think it’s a bunch of people who probably got doped up or drunk and figured they could start knocking over stones,” he said. “It’s ridiculous, where people can’t even lay in a cemetery and rest in peace.”

Similar incidents of vandalism have occurred at the cemetery and elsewhere in the area. In 2006, vandals overturned 35 gravestones at the Rodef Sholom Cemetery, and another 20 at a nearby cemetery. The perpretrators, who were intoxicated while committing the crime, received fines and jail time.

German cemeteries vandalized


The Germany city of Bremen will help the local Jewish community pay for repairs to the historic cemetery in Hastedt, which was damaged by unknown vandals.

According to Jewish community vice chair Grigori Pantijelew, 12 tombstones from the 1920s and 1930s were knocked down overnight on Aug. 2; some were severely damaged. Such cemeteries depend on public care; descendants either fled Nazi Germany or were killed.

Jens Bohrnsen and Karoline Linnert, the co-mayors of Bremen, a port city of more than 500,000 in northwest Germany, visited the site Monday with Jewish community representatives. They told the Weser Courier newspaper that they wanted to show that Germany was not indifferent to this kind of crime.

“I am always shocked when I find out there are idiots around who have not learned anything and who try to provoke us in this way,” Bohrnsen said.

Meanwhile, in Aarchen near the German border with France and Belgium, unknown perpetrators painted Nazi symbols on the wall of the Jewish cemetery. The vandalism was discovered in the early morning hours of Aug. 2.