The gravesites of more than 170 Jews were vandalized at a cemetery in University City, Mo., sometime over the weekend.
A groundskeeper arrived Sunday morning to find gravestones overturned across a wide section of the cemetery, the oldest section as it happens, bearing the remains of Jews who died between the late 1800s and the mid-20th century, Anita Feigenbaum, director of the Chesed Shel Emeth Society, told The Washington Post in a phone interview.
She called it a “horrific act of cowardice,” beyond anything the cemetery had experienced in the past.
University City, a section of St. Louis, is named for its proximity to Washington University.
The cemetery was founded by the Russian Jewish community in St. Louis “to aid all Jews who needed burial whether they had the money or not. To this day that’s what we do. We are not for profit. We help in this horrible time in a person’s life.”
Feigenbaum had not completed counting the number of damaged stones Monday evening but during the day said she had found more than 170. The cemetery holds the remains of more than 20,000, she estimated.
She said she was getting an “outpouring of support from across the United States” with people volunteering to help with repairs and was deeply appreciative. University City police said they were investigating.
On Monday, the Anti-Defamation League reported a wave of bomb threats directed against Jewish Community Centers in multiple states, the fourth series of such threats since the beginning of the year, it said.
“While ADL does not have any information at this time to indicate the presence of any actual bombs at the institutions threatened, the threats themselves are alarming, disruptive and must always be taken seriously.”
Responding to an inquiry from NBC News about the threats, the White House issued a statement saying “Hatred and hate-motivated violence of any kind have no place in a country founded on the promise of individual freedom. The President has made it abundantly clear that these actions are unacceptable.”[...]
The exchanges were noteworthy in part because of President Trump’s unusual response at a news conference Friday to a question about the rise in anti-Semitic incidents around the country. Rather than condemning them, Trump responded by talking about his electoral college victory, describing the question as unfair.