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St. Paul Increases Patrols After Jewish Cemetery is Vandalized

St. Paul police are increasing patrols at local synagogues and Jewish community centers after vandalism was discovered in a Jewish cemetery this past week.

The incident is one of two recent ones targeting Jewish sites in the midst of the Jewish High Holy Days. A St. Louis Park synagogue closed its preschool and called off an in-person Sabbath service Friday evening after receiving a threat of possible violence targeting worshipers.

On Thursday, police were called to the Chesed Shel Emes Cemetery in St. Paul, where a caretaker said he arrived at work to find 30 grave markers knocked over.

No arrests have been made, and the investigation is continuing.

“In light of this incident, and other incidents around the metro, we are increasing patrol and visits at synagogues and other Jewish community centers in St. Paul,” a police statement said.

At the Beth El Synagogue in St. Louis Park, members were told that the Anti-Defamation League regional office in Chicago received a specific threat of physical violence via its website directed at a Beth El Synagogue.

All Beth El facilities  in the region were notified, but “there were indications that the threat may have come from the Twin Cities area,” the St. Louis Park synagogue’s managing director Matt Walzer wrote in a notice to members, adding that “St. Louis Park was also referenced by name.”

St. Louis Park police said they were notified about a “threat of violence received on an online messaging platform” targeting the synagogue.

The incidents occurred amid the Jewish High Holy Days. Rosh Hashana, the Jewish New Year, was celebrated from sundown Monday until nightfall Wednesday. Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement, will begin Wednesday evening and end the following evening.