Vandals topple headstones at historic Boston-area Jewish cemetery
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Vandals topple headstones at historic Boston-area Jewish cemetery

(JTA) — Vandals toppled six headstones at one of the oldest Jewish cemeteries in Massachusetts.

Police responded Thursday morning to reports of what appeared to be three teenage boys seen kicking over tombstones at the Netherlands Cemetery in Melrose, Mayor Robert Dolan reported on his blog.

“I am deeply saddened and outraged by this vandalism and potential hate crime,” Dolan said. “Cemeteries are sacred grounds. Any malicious destruction is deeply saddening and must be given the full attention of law enforcement.”

The Netherlands Cemetery, formally called the Netherlands Cemetery Association and Roxbury Mutual Society Burial Ground, is the third-oldest Jewish cemetery in Massachusetts and contains about 475 graves, according to the Mayor’s Office. It was established in 1859 by a group of Dutch Jews living in Greater Boston.