Pittsburgh Jewish org issues warning after multiple attacks

After string of attacks against local Orthodox Jews in June, including a serious hospitalization, local Federation warns Jews to be careful.

Dan Verbin ,

PIttsburgh
PIttsburgh
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After multiple incidents of anti-Semitic assault occurred in Pittsburgh in the last month, a leading Jewish organization is warning the local Jewish community.

The Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh said that in the latest incident a Squirrel Hill area resident ended up hospitalized with broken bones after being attacked by anti-Semites.

During the last month, four members of the Orthodox community in Squirrel Hill have been assaulted or attacked with anti-Semitic slurs after leaving services, reported the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

On June 6, three Jews were walking home from a Squirrel Hill synagogue when they were assaulted with anti-Semitic slurs. The taunting was describe as “clearly anti-Semitic and hateful.”

On June 13, a Jewish man was assaulted while on his way home from a different synagogue in the area. During the assault he was knocked to the ground.

The attack resulted in broken bones. The man was hospitalized and required hip replacement surgery, according to the Algemeiner.

Police have launched a hate crime investigation.

“We have seen over the past month or so a rise in anti-Semitism that was largely spurred by the conflict between Israel and Hamas,” said Shawn Brokos, director of community security for the Federation, in an interview with the Post-Gazette. “We have seen it across the nation, we’ve seen it globally, and up until two weeks ago we hadn’t seen it impact us in Pittsburgh.”

Brooks said that in both attacks, the attacker was a man but it is not clear it both attacks were carried out by the same person.

The Federation is urging Jews to immediately call 911 if an incident is occurring, and to then contact the Federation.

“What may seem possibly insignificant might be a larger part of a very important piece of a puzzle,” Brokos said. “I think with increased reporting it helps investigators and also the community at large.”

The Federation has an incident report form on its website. All report are tracked and shared with the FBI and the ADL.

Brokos said that a mailer of safety tips was sent to community members. The sheet explained how to be “situationally aware” and how to have conversations with children about violence and how to identify suspicious behaviour.

Squirrel Hill is home to the Tree of Life Synagogue which experienced the worst anti-Semitic attack in US history. On the morning of October 27, 2018, a gunman entered the building and killed 11 congregants, injuring six.



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