VINELAND, N.J. (Oct. 3)
Beth Israel Synagogue here was broken into last night by anti-Semitic vandals who burned a Torah Scroll and some 200 religious books, and did other damage to the building and its furnishings. Both police and synagogue officials said the vandals were obviously motivated by anti-Semitism. Vineland was notorious in the 1930′s as a center of the Nazi Bund. It is also a noted center of Jewish poultry raising.
Damages were estimated at several thousand dollars. Police, who opened an immediate investigation, said they had no clues as to the identity of the desecraters. Mayor Henry Garton visited the vandalized synagogue today, and expressed shock at the outrage.
The vandals started several small fires in the synagogue and smeared swastikas on the walls. The slogan “Jews, Get Out” was smeared on the children’s classroom. The Torah was removed from the Ark and burned in what officials called a “sadistic manner.” Flags bearing the Star of David also were set afire.
More than 500 residents of Vineland, including several ministers and many other non Jews, attended a funeral service today for the scroll and books burned in the attack.
A congregation spokesman said the desecration was the first in the 40-year history of the congregation.