A new report finds anti-Semitic incidents are on the rise in New Jersey.

According to Joshua Cohen, the regional director for the Anti-Defamation League’s New Jersey office, new data shows that in 2016 there were 157 anti-Semitic incidents across New Jersey, a 14 percent increase from the previous year.

He said the incidents reported last year include 81 incidents of vandalism, 73 incidents of harassment and thee assaults.

The report also notes during the first three months of 2017, there have been 24 incidents in New Jersey, including nine vandalism incidents and 15 harassment and threat reports.

“It is deeply troubling that there are at least three anti-Semitic incidents reported in New Jersey every week, and we know that for every incident that’s reported there’s likely more that go unreported.”

He also pointed out “the surge in reported incidents is a sobering reminder that New Jersey is not immune to anti-Jewish hate.”

For all of last year, New Jersey had the third highest total of antisemitic incidents, behind only California and New York.

Keith Krivitzky, CEO of The Jewish Federation in the Heart of New Jersey, said the trend is concerning, but sadly it is not surprising.

He said one of the reasons New Jersey has so many incidents is because “there are a lot of Jews who live throughout New Jersey.”

According to Krivitzky, the Federation has focused on enhancing security, “but also how do we work with other groups, organizations, partners, to try to educate, do what we can to combat anti-Semitism and hate in general?”

He stressed Central Jersey is “absolutely a great place to live, and nobody wants to think that there’s intolerance or bigotry or hatred living next door, residing down the street, or taking place in our neighborhoods. But the reality is under the surface, there are things that are really troubling, and the only way to address it and combat it is to say something and call it out when you see it.”

He suggested that means everyone needs to stand up and report these incidents.

“Tell people that hate has no place here, that’s the most important thing that people can take away from this report and how they can respond,” he said.

“There are a subset of anti-Semites, racists and bigots, who, because of the political climate feel empowered to act out on some of these feelings.”

He said the Anti- Defamation League is against anti-Semitism and all other types of religious persecution.

“When there are incidents, it is imperative for organizations like the ADL and other organizations to stand up and speak out against hate and bigotry in their communities,” he said.

“The increase in incidents should only motivate us to increase our vital work towards respectful inclusive communities that are free from hatred in all forms.”

You can contact reporter David Matthau at David.Matthau@townsquaremedia.com

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