Hundreds of flyers with anti-Semitic messages were distributed in Brigantine over the weekend of Aug. 20 and 21, according to local police and several media reports.
They contained references to conspiracy theories about Jews controlling the United States and the media. They did not contain any specific threats.
The Brigantine Police Department is classifying it as a “bias incident” and investigating. Similar incidents have taken place across the country.
“We maintain and review our security protocols, encourage legislators and law enforcement to confront the injustices of bias and bigotry, promote anti-hate education, teach civics in schools and work with organizations that identify and challenge hate groups,” read a statement from the Shirat Hayam Congregation in Ventnor.
Brigantine Police said there is no update on the investigation at this time.
Temple Beth Shalom, which is in Brigantine, was not directly targeted by the attack, according to President Jan Sarratore.
“We were very fortunate it was random,” Sarratore said.
Sarratore and the congregation, on the advice of the Jewish Federation of Atlantic & Cape May Counties, the Anti-Defamation League and the Brigantine Police Department, among other authorities, did their best to make sure that the flyers did not get additional publicity. The president advised members not to share pictures of them on social media. The police told residents of the town, Jewish and non-Jewish, the same thing.
Publicity could inspire more potential attackers, according to Roberta Clarke, the executive director of the local Jewish Federation.
“On something like this, which is really sort of a cowardly action, we don’t want to give them attention,” Clarke said.
Without spreading the flyers, Brigantine residents did show solidarity with the Jewish community by holding a rally outside the local library, where a Holocaust memorial statue stands, the following Friday night, Aug. 26. Between 150 and 200 people attended, though Temple Shalom members did not because they were told to lay low by the ADL and because it was right before the Sabbath.
“We felt the support,” Sarratore said.
But the synagogue has hired security for the upcoming High Holidays.
“Which we’ve never done before,” the president said. JE