The Journal News reported on February 23rd that a fence in New York state was vandalized with Nazi symbols. A fence in the village of New Square was vandalized in black spray pain with the words “GET OUT” along with many swastikas. This village is located roughly 40 miles Northwest of Manhattan. This horrific graffiti was found on a 6ft high fence that separates the village from a neighboring rehabilitation center. The village’s mayor, Israel Spitzer, called this act “bigoted and an attack against the community.” This village in Ramapo, New York, is highly populated with thousands of Hasidic Jews which has been the case since the founding of New Square in the 1950s. New Square’s Hasidic Jews are members of the Skverer sect of Hasidic judaism. This group, among many others in Hasidic Judaism, is a group whose goal is to be largely isolated from the secular world.
This extreme form of Judaism represents some of the many characteristics that have fueled religious antisemitism in history. They are an isolated community, with extremely strict religious practices, and have little interest in assimilating into American secular society. This combination of factors makes them even more vulnerable during this tense time for American Jews. In recent weeks, while there have countless threats and other forms of antisemitism in JCCs, more modernized Jewish institutions, antisemitism in Orthodox Jewish communities has not been seen as widely. When considering acts of antisemitism in extremely religious areas of the United States, it is important to consider the fact that Orthodox Jews could be viewed as un-American in their practices, in addition to their vulnerability as Jews. These combination of threats leads into a conversation regarding the protection of religious individuals in America. As, one can only hope that there will be a legislative plan put forth to protect Jews, religious and otherwise, from violence and hatred.