The Jewish Federation of Ulster County joins with our parent organization, the Jewish Federation of North America and its many member communities, in condemning the horrific violence at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh, PA. Our most sincere condolences go out to the families and friends of those who lost their lives and we pray for a speedy recovery for the survivors and the entire Jewish community of Pittsburgh.

With anti-Semitic incidents on the increase nationally, it is important for us to note that there were two anti-Semitic incidents in the Mid-Hudson region in the last two weeks. On October 10th, fliers with anti-Semitic content were posted publicly on the Marist, Vassar and Dutchess Community College Campuses. The fliers were removed and a perpetrator identified. The man responsible has been banned from all three college campuses but, according to the Poughkeepsie Journal, no arrest was made because no criminal laws were broken.

Closer to home, last Sunday, October 21st, at 5:30 in the morning, police said, swastikas, “666”, and five pointed stars were spray-painted on 15 to 18 locations in Midtown Kingston. Police characterize the incidents as "ugly acts of criminal mischief," downplaying implications of anti-Semitism because: a) the swastikas were clustered with other symbols that do not have anti-Semitic connotations; b) the swastikas were not accurately drawn; and, c) they were scattered about the Midtown area and not associated with sites of significance for the Jewish community. We thank Mayor Noble for his quick response, condemning the vandalism in the strongest terms and calling for the police to make the investigation a top priority. We thank the Kingston City police for vigorously pursuing their investigation. A police spokesperson informed us late Friday, October 26th, that they were still conducting interviews, but that they had a suspect in mind and should be able to make a public statement shortly.We will remain in contact with the Kingston Police Department and inform you as new developments become available. We also wish to acknowledge the Kingston Library for repainting the door where the graffiti was spray painted within hours of its discovery.

Please report any evidence of anti-Semitic activity to the Jewish Federation of Ulster County office at 845-338-8131 or, no matter how minor it might seem at the time.