Central New York, Community, Religion

Syracuse Rabbi Appalled with Vandalism at Jewish Cemeteries

Rabbi Daniel Fellman, of the Temple of Concord, says he is concerned local Jewish cemeteries are at risk for vandalism. © 2017 Madelyn Urabe

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By Madelyn Urabe SYRACUSE, N.Y. (NCC News)- Conversations began at Syracuse Jewish Temples after the number of graves vandalized in Philadelphia were released. Rabbi Daniel Fellman, from the Temple of Concord in Syracuse, said he finds these acts atrocious.

“It is hard for me to differentiate my response as a Rabbi from being a human being. There is no good reason to desecrate a grave.  There’s just none. It’s just hate. It’s just flat hatred.” said Rabbi Fellman.

To his knowledge, Rabbi Fellman does not know of any recent acts of vandalism that has occurred in a Syracuse Jewish Cemetery. However, he is still concerned with similar attacks happening.

“We have little stuff every once in a while where a grave gets knocked over or two but nothing of consequence,” Rabbi Fellman said, “But, there are hateful people in Syracuse just as much as there is in Philadelphia or St. Louis.”

Rabbi Fellman said that with the Jewish Community in Syracuse being small enough, all of those who work with funerals, or at Jewish cemeteries, help regulate the cemeteries. However, with not all of the cemeteries being fenced, he said the graves could still be at risk.

The Woodlawn cemetery, a fenced cemetery located in North Syracuse, is associated with the Temple of Concord.

Rabbi Fellman said extra security measures will not be taken at Woodlawn at this time. Yet the Temple of Concord has increased their security. This comes after a recent increase in the number of bomb threats at Jewish Community Centers across the nation.

The JCC in Dewitt received multiple bomb threats last month and the total number of reported bomb threats at JCCs across the United States rose to 100 on Monday.

Rabbi Daniel Fellman has been a Rabbi for 12 years and has worked at the Temple of Concord for 8 years.