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Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Jewish Businesses Vandalized in Highland Park, N.J.

Damaged window, Jack's Hardware (Jewish-owned store), Nov. 30, 2011 — at Highland Park, New Jersey. Photo: Mason Resnick

Highland Park, NJ - Highland Park’s Jewish residents are both nervous and angry after waking up this morning to discover broken windows at five Jewish owned businesses in the area, including two eateries and two Judaica stores, which had been vandalized sometime last night.

The five businesses, Park Place, Trio Gifts, Judaica Gallery, Jerusalem Pizza and Jack’s Hardware and Plumbing are all located on a one-third of a mile stretch of Raritan Avenue, Highland Park’s shopping district.

One of the two big storefront windows was completely shattered at Trio Gifts. Owner Avi Reiss told the News that he was notified of the damage by police at 1:30 AM and described Highland Park as “a quiet town.”

Paul Goldman, owner of Park Place, said that while the physical damages to his restaurant were minimal, the ramifications were far more disturbing.

“They threw a cinderblock through a window and damaged a small part of the window and a portion of the floor,” said Goldman. “The damage itself is not really that significant, but the intent is much more so and a serious cause for concern.”

Police are actively investigating the matter which has been forwarded to the county prosecutor according to Highland Park mayor Stephen Nolan.

“Vandalism itself is highly unusual in this area and I personally cannot remember any expressions of anti-Semitism in Highland Park,” Mayor Nolan told the News. “We are a very diverse community here but I can assure you that if any bias crimes were to be committed in the borough, they would be dealt with very severely.

The cost of the damage was not immediately available.

Police distributed fliers to the community today advising residents to remain calm and assured them that an intensive investigation has been launched.

If you have any information about this incident you can contact the Highland Park Police Department at 732-572-3800.

The vandalism follows a string of swastika paintings in Brooklyn and Queens and the arson of several vehicles in Brooklyn accompanied by anti-Semitic graffiti.

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