Vandalism at Mount Carmel Cemetery: Complete coverage

Complete coverage:

Patrols up of possible bias crime targets (March 4): In New Jersey, law enforcement officials increased patrols at religious institutions like houses of worship, community centers and cemeteries in the wake of recent incidents, including the vandalism at Mount Carmel.

Gov. Wolf requests federal investigation of crimes against Jewish institutions (March 2): In a letter to U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions, Wolf cited the toppling of headstones at the Mount Carmel Cemetery in Wissinoming as well as bomb threats made against a Jewish day school in Montgomery County and Jewish Community Centers in York and Harrisburg.

Bill could raise penalties in light of Jewish cemetery vandalism (March 2): Councilman Kenyatta Johnson has introduced a bill that would increase penalties for ethnic intimidation and institutional vandalism; the changes would make each act of headstone or grave-marker vandalism a separate offense.

'Stand Against Hate' rally held in response to Jewish cemetery vandalism (March 2): People rallied on Independence Mall to show support and promote peace after the vandalism. The event was organized by the Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia.

For vandalized cemetery, a long history of decline (March 1): The vandalism is only the most recent insult for Mount Carmel. Other problems plaguing the cemetery in recent years include a lack of new burials to generate income, having only a part-time overseer, no map to its 8,000 plots, a deteriorated burial ledger, and partiers who leave behind beer bottles and other trash. Vandalism at the cemetery, including the toppling of headstones, "almost seemed like a neighborhood tradition," said Harry Boonin, founder of the Jewish Genealogy Society of Greater Philadelphia.

$141K donated for vandalized Jewish cemetery (March 1): Citizens have donated more than $141,000 for restorations at Mount Carmel. The Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia and a separate GoFundMe campaign are both raising money.

Letters: Where's the Brotherly Love in anti-Semitic attacks? (March 1): More readers offer their takes on the incident.

Vandalism at Jewish cemetery predated reports, superintendent says (Feb. 28): The vandalism occurred at least five days before it was reported to police, according to the superintendent of another cemetery. Bill Doran, head of Laurel Hill Cemetery, said he visited Mount Carmel and noticed the destroyed graves on Feb. 21. Doran said he saw the gate unlocked and assumed Mount Carmel officials knew about the damage.

Trump says attacks on Jewish sites could be 'to make others look bad' (Feb. 28): In a call with attorneys general, President Trump said the attacks and threats on Jewish sites were "reprehensible" but speculated that the incidents might not solely be related to anti-Semitism, according to Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro. Shapiro quoted the president as saying: Sometimes, "someone's doing it to make others look bad." 

Rabbi has 26 relatives in vandalized Jewish cemetery (Feb. 28): Rabbi Ben-Zion Saydman, who lives in Orange County, Calif., has 26 family members buried at the vandalized cemetery. He never met those relatives, but has visited and prayed at their graves. He was waiting to learn whether their tombs were among those destroyed. "It’s been devastating. I broke down. I was wailing," Saydman said. "We felt it in our kishkes, which means deep, deep down inside."

Inquirer Editorial: Jewish cemetery's desecration was a hateful crime (Feb. 28): The Inquirer's editorial board calls the incident "an appalling act of bigotry that illustrates how deeply this country is divided and why it needs better leadership to get Americans to unite in their rejection of hatred."

Letters: Cemetery vandalism an indignity for us all (Feb. 28): Readers weigh in on the vandalism.

Ubiñas: At Jewish cemetery, hoping family gravestones were spared (Feb. 27): Columnist Helen Ubiñas walks the cemetery with relatives who went there Monday morning, wondering if their relatives' headstones were among those damaged.

Jewish centers evacuated in Pa., N.J., Del.; threats unfounded (Feb. 27): A day after the Mount Carmel damage was reported, bomb threats forced evacuations at 20 Jewish institutions in 12 states, including centers in Cherry Hill and Wynnewood. There was no immediate or apparent connection between the threats and the vandalism, but the sequence of events rattled nerves among the Philadelphia area's Jewish community.

Families, cops & politicians seek answers in Jewish cemetery vandalism (Feb. 27): The day after the vandalism became public, mourners visited the cemetery to inspect relatives' graves for damage, volunteers offered help, officials pondered how to fix the site, and police continued to seek a suspect and motive. 

Vandalism at Jewish cemetery in Philadelphia makes news worldwide (Feb. 27): News of the desecration generates news coverage across the globe, particularly from Jewish publications and those based in Israel.

'An abominable crime': investigation underway into toppled headstones at Jewish cemetery (Feb. 26): The damaged gravestones are reported and police begin to investigate who committed the vandalism, and why. Fund-raising efforts for the cemetery get underway, and families express despair at seeing their loved ones' graves destroyed. The vandalism was reported to authorities when someone visiting the cemetery called police after seeing the toppled headstones.

Staff writer Tommy Rowan contributed to this post.

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