NEW YORK – Authorities in Lakewood, New Jersey are investigating a possible hate crime after a dead pig was left on the doorstep of one of the town’s rabbis during Shabbat.
The incident occurred at the home of Rabbi Moshe Zev Feldman, who serves on a rabbinical court for conversions, a local source said.
Lakewood is home to a large ultra-Orthodox Jewish community, and its Beth Medrash Govoha yeshiva is the biggest in the United States. It has also been on the radar of the Anti-Defamation League in recent months.
As Lakewood has experienced a population boom in recent decades, Orthodox residents of the area, including of other towns in Ocean County, have been blamed for local overdevelopment and become targets of antisemitic incidents. They have felt tensions grow significantly over the past two years.
Earlier this year, Facebook shut down an antisemitic page titled Rise Up Ocean County, which accounted for much of the anti-Jewish rhetoric. The page, with nearly 20,000 followers, featured caricatures of Jews, accusations of laziness and freeloading, bashing and other displays of anger toward the Jewish community on a variety of issues.
- With coronavirus shuttering shuls, N.Y. Jews fear another threat: Anti-Semitism
- Coronavirus puts New Jersey’s Orthodox community in an unwelcome spotlight
- 106% rise in anti-Semitic assaults in New York state in 2019, ADL reports
Authorities in the Garden State, including Attorney General Gurbir Singh Grewal, had pushed the social media platform to take action against the page for months.
A source at the ADL told Haaretz on Monday that the county has become “an extreme point of attention” for their organization in past months. The county recorded the highest number of antisemitic incidents in New Jersey in 2019, with a 157 percent increase, ADL figures published in May showed.
The latest incident is “horrifying”, the organization’s New York/New Jersey Regional Director Scott Richman said in a statement. “No individual or group deserves to be targeted in this way.”