(JTA) — The Anti-Defamation League offered a $10,000 reward for information leading to the conviction of those responsible for the vandalism of a Jewish cemetery in Philadelphia.
More than 100 gravestones were toppled and damaged at the Mt. Carmel Cemetery in the Wissinoming section of Philadelphia. The vandalism was discovered on Sunday.
The reward money leading to the arrest and conviction of the vandals is being provided by the Mizel Family Foundation, according to the ADL.
We are appalled to see the desecration of another Jewish cemetery. These attacks need to end now: https://t.co/d9S1KUAWCg — ADL (@ADL_National) February 26, 2017
The discovery comes nearly a week after over 150 headstones were discovered overturned and damaged at the Chesed Shel Emeth Jewish cemetery in St. Louis.
It is not known who committed the vandalism or if the motive was anti-Semitism.
A Gofundme campaign for the Philadelphia cemetery was launched by a private citizen, Raphael Caroline, 31, in the hours after the vandalism was discovered. It raised more than its $10,000 goal in 7 hours.
The Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia also is collecting donations for repairs to the cemetery.
Pennsylvania Sen. Bob Casey in a tweet called the attack on the cemetery “a despicable act of vandalism- these acts of hate cannot be tolerated.”
This is a despicable act of vandalism- these acts of hate cannot be tolerated. https://t.co/4xiLJRzi5e via @6abc — Senator Bob Casey (@SenBobCasey) February 26, 2017
The state’s governor, Tom Wolf, in a tweet called the vandalism “a cowardly, disturbing act. We must find those responsible and hold accountable.”
The vandalism of Jewish headstones at a Phila. cemetery is a cowardly, disturbing act. We must find those responsible and hold accountable. https://t.co/6eM0G2tC4S — Governor Tom Wolf (@GovernorTomWolf) February 26, 2017
Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney said city officials are working to discover who committed the attack on the Jewish cemetery. “My heart breaks for the families who found their loved ones’ headstones toppled,” he said in a statement. “We are doing all we can to find the perpetrators who desecrated this final resting place, and they will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. Hate is not permissible in Philadelphia. I encourage Philadelphians to stand with our Jewish brothers and sisters and to show them that we are the City of Brotherly Love and Sisterly Affection.”
Area Muslims from the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community USA’s Philadelphia Mosque joined local Jews to help clean up the cemetery in the wake of the vandalism. “They wanted to divide us. We united even more,” Kashif N. Chaudhry, a physician and Muslim activist tweeted.
They wanted to divide us. We united even more. Muslims from @PhillyMosque & local Jews repair vandalized cemetery -> https://t.co/yVCotkC5zg pic.twitter.com/cGw72ZHuTy — Kashif N Chaudhry (@KashifMD) February 27, 2017
“This is America,” read more than one response. “This Jewish girl from Philly thanks Muslim community of Philly 4 standing w/us,” read another.
A candlelight vigil to support the Jewish community was held on Sunday night.
Live from the candlelit vigil for Mt. Carmel Cemetery tonight. #JewishPhilly #StrongerTogether pic.twitter.com/uli0YWS1hF — JewishPhilly (@JFedinPhilly) February 27, 2017