Anti-Semitic graffiti, hate poster mar Yom Kippur in White Plains
The discovery of anti-Semitic graffiti and a hate poster marred the Yom Kippur holiday in White Plains.
Westchester County police found the act of hate at the Garden of Remembrance on Martine Avenue in downtown White Plains.
According to the Holocaust and Human Rights Education Center, which oversees the garden, the graffiti and poster were found in a spot meant to honor the memories of the millions of men, women and children killed in the Holocaust. It also pays tribute to the brave people of all faiths who risked their lives to save others.
Investigators say this happened Monday, on the eve of Yom Kippur, which is the holiest day of the year in Judaism. "I don't see why people should hate on other people; everybody is different and we should appreciate each other's differences; nobody is the same and that is something special about this place," says Jose Vasquez, of White Plains.
Crews finished cleaning up the hateful messages Wednesday morning.
Executive Director Millie Jasper says she was horrified when she learned about the vicious vandalism to the garden. In the nearly 30 years since it was constructed, this is the first time it ever was vandalized.
"This isn't what I anticipated I would be doing today," Jasper said. "I'm disheartened that I am here- anti-Semitism is on the rise in Westchester County, in the state, in the country, in the world."
There are a number of cameras in the area, and Jasper is hopeful that at least one of them caught whoever vandalized the area.
She says that police are investigating and that "the perpetrator or perpetrators will be caught and will be brought to justice."
Westchester County Executive George Latimer released a statement saying, "We are enraged by this act and heartbroken that individuals would target members of our community on the most solemn day in their tradition."
State Sen. Andrea Stewart-Cousins responded to the acts saying, "We stand with our brothers and sisters in the Jewish community. We are all united and with clear and loud voices, we must let everyone know there is no place for this type of hatred."
Gov. Andrew Cuomo also condemned the attacks Wednesday, saying in a statement that, "I am disgusted by the desecration of a Holocaust memorial in White Plains."
Police across the Hudson Valley have stepped up security at synagogues and religious centers throughout the Yom Kippur observance which ends this evening.
Westchester County will hold an interfaith prayer vigil Thursday at 12 p.m. in response to the anti-Semitic attack.