Philadelphia Jewish community feels ‘threatened’ after gravestones toppled

After an incident in which hundreds of headstones at a cemetery were found broken and overturned, the head of The Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia said the local Jewish community is feeling threatened.

Police have not yet attached any specific motive to the destruction of the headstones, which occurred at Mt. Carmel Cemetery in the Wissinoming section of the city, but the incident follows a series of bomb threats at Jewish day schools and centers in Philadelphia, according to Naomi Adler, the federation’s CEO.

Those incidents, coupled with a similar incident that took place at Chesed Shel Emeth Cemetery in University City, Missouri last week, have shaken the city’s Jewish population, according to Adler.

“Our community definitely feels threatened,” Adler said. “This incident, coupled with the St. Louis episode last week, brought with it a lot of anxiety.”

Representatives of Mt. Carmel Cemetery did not immediately respond ABC News’ request to speak about the incident. Some volunteer reports have said that several hundred headstones were damaged.

Dominick Reuter/AFP/Getty Images
Melanie Steinhardt comforts Becca Richman at the Jewish Mount Carmel Cemetery, Feb. 26, 2017, in Philadelphia.

The Philadelphia Police Department said that more than 100 headstones were affected in the act of apparent vandalism and the discovery was made after one family reported their relatives’ headstones had been toppled.

“On Sunday, February 26, 2017, at approximately 9:40 AM, 15th District officers responded to a radio call for a report of ‘Vandalism’ at Mount Carmel Jewish Cemetery located at 5701 Frankford Avenue,” a police statement read. “Upon their arrival at the listed location, responding officers were met by the complainant, who reported that three headstones belonging to his relatives were damaged, due to being knocked over.”

According to ABC station WPVI in Philadelphia, Aaron Mallin of North Jersey discovered the fallen stones on Sunday when he came to visit…

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