Members of the community will come together on Sun., Oct. 16 at 11:30 a.m. at the Temple Beth Shalom cemetery for a service of solidarity and healing. Join friends and neighbors in front of the desecrated gates of the cemetery which is located at 108-152 Spanktown Rd., near Union Corners Rd. in Warwick.
There will be prayers and songs, accompanied by the Torah Scroll that was saved from Nazi violence, terror and hate. Last Sunday it was discovered that “Heil Hitler” and swastikas were spray painted on the outer walls of the entrance to the cemetery.
“I am very distressed that at this modern day and age that we have such bigotry or ignorance. And I hope everything will be done to apprehend whoever is involved and that they are treated appropriately. It’s an old issue that should have been put to rest years ago. I know that there is a $10,000 reward for any information regarding whoever is responsible,” said Village of Florida Mayor James Pawliczek.
The Warwick Valley School District posted a statement about the desecration on their website that the School District is viewing the hateful act as a teachable moment for students. District administrators have devoted considerable time since this incident occurred, devising strategies and developing talking points to address anti-Semitism and other acts of hatred with students to reinforce themes of the existing K-12 character education program.
“While the instinct might be to assume these horrific acts were conducted by students, at this point there is no indication students were involved,” said Superintendent of Schools Dr. David Leach. “Regardless, the District intends to use this disgraceful incident as a teachable moment. In our middle school and high school classrooms, discussions will take place reinforcing themes of tolerance and respect, and helping students understand the damage done and pain inflicted by bias and bigotry.”
An investigation by the Warwick Police is ongoing. If anyone has information about the incident they can contact the Warwick Police Department at 986-5000.