Seton Hall’s Jewish-Christian studies fund released a statement condemning current antisemitic comments and the recent FBI warning of threats to Jewish Synagogues in New Jersey.
On Nov. 3, the FBI reported receiving credible information about a “broad” threat to synagogues in New Jersey, AP News said, which prompted some municipalities to send security to guard houses of worship.
Although the nature of the threat was vague, the alert was posted after broad online threats were discovered by officials. Not long after, Anthony Sciglitano, Executive Director of the Sister Rose Thering Fund for Education in Jewish-Christian Studies, released an official statement through the University’s website.
Founded in 1993, the Sister Rose Thering Fund began as a supporting wing of the Department of Religion with a mission to “advance Sister Rose’s legacy by fostering an understanding and cooperation among Jews, Christians and people of other religious traditions through advocacy and education,” according to its website.
“Many of you by now have heard the abhorrent antisemitic comments from prominent members of our society,” Sciglitano said. “These comments not only traded on old forms of antisemitism but seemingly threatened violence as well.”
Antisemitic threats have increased as incidents in the United States reached an all-time high in 2021, marking a 34% increase from the previous year, according to the University’s statement.
“That someone should fear for their safety in their house of worship is appalling,” Sciglitano said. “Worse, these threats immediately recall the 11 people murdered at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh in 2018.”
“When the FBI announcement first came out, I was shocked, saddened, and scared,” said Samantha Bernstein, president of the Hillel organization on campus. “I did not want to go out in public wearing anything that would mark me as Jewish or want to go near a temple.”
Since the announcement, the FBI has located and neutralized the suspect, who “expressed radical, extremist views and ideology, as well as an extreme amount of hate against the Jewish community,” according to a NJ.com update.
“As a society, we have made tremendous efforts to change the narrative surrounding Jews,” Bernstein said. “I believe that the university can do more. Especially considering our proximity to Newark. South Orange also has a large Jewish population with two synagogues in town.”
Jiaqi Liu can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.