Minnesota Jews targeted by cemetery vandalism, violent threats during Rosh Hashanah week

St Louis Park synagogue forced to cancel services and preschool after violent threat while 30 tombstones in St Paul Jewish cemetery toppled.

Dan Verbin ,

Headstone at Jewish cemetery (illustrative)
Headstone at Jewish cemetery (illustrative)
iStock

The Jewish community in the Minneapolis–Saint Paul, Minnesota area was targeted multiple times during the week of Rosh Hashanah, according to the Star Tribune.

After receiving credible information about a violent threat on Thursday, Beth El synagogue in St. Louis Park, a suburb of Minneapolis–Saint Paul, cancelled Friday evening services.

The synagogue’s preschool was also closed on Friday.

All in-person services were changed to online “out of an abundance of caution,” according to a message sent to congregants.

The synagogue was notified by the Chicago office of the ADL that it had "received a specific threat of physical violence via its website directed at a 'Beth El Synagogue.”

A notice sent to synagogue members stated: "There were indications that the threat may have come from the Twin Cities area. St. Louis Park was also referenced by name."

St. Louis Park Police released a statement on Friday saying that they were called Thursday evening about a "threat of violence received on an online messaging platform" that named the synagogue.

"The as-yet-unidentified sender of the message indicated people could be harmed at a religious service [on Friday evening],” they said.

Also on Thursday, St. Paul police were called to investigate an act of vandalism that took place at the Chesed Shel Emes Cemetery. A caretaker told them that she discovered 30 tombstones had been knocked over.

"In light of this incident, and other incidents around the metro, we are increasing patrol and visits at synagogues and other Jewish community centers in St. Paul," said the police in a statement.

St. Paul police have opened an investigation into the cemetery vandalism. There have been no arrests so far.

The ADL said they were “aware of and horrified by” the vandalization of the cemetery.

“Keeping the Jewish community safe is our top priority. In light of recent increases in anti-Semitic incidents, the partnerships ADL and other Jewish organizations and institutions maintain are central to the community’s coordinated approach to respond to possible threats and keep us all safe," said ADL Midwest Regional Director David Goldenberg. "As the Jewish community comes together for the High Holy Days and in hopes of a sweet and safe new year, it is critical we support one another and condemn the violence and incitement against Jews and all communities."



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