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Antisemitic Vandalism at Long Island Playground and Park

swastika playground.JPG

Anti-Semitic symbols were found inscribed into playground equipment in Seaford, officials said.

The symbols were found at Seamans Neck Park in the midst of the High Holy Days, the Jewish holiday season, in an area where children and family gather, officials said. Photos obtained by Patch showed at least two Swastikas scrawled on playground equipment.

Don Clavin, the Hempstead town supervisor, and members of the Town Board joined local spiritual leaders Thursday to condemn repeated instances of vandalism found there this week, including hate symbols such as Swastikas. Hempstead officials and area rabbis talked about the importance of unity and what steps will be taken to address the vandalism and prevent it from happening again. Clavin said there is “zero tolerance” for anti-Semitism in Hempstead town.

“It is especially disturbing to discover such vitriol and hatred during the highest holidays on the Jewish calendar and in a space where children and families gather regularly,” Clavin said. “It’s critical that we band together to call for unity and take steps to prevent this from happening again.”

The area was closed off for an investigation. Clavin, along with fellow council members Dorothy Goosby, Bruce Blakeman, Anthony D’Esposito, Dennis Dunne, Sr., Tom Muscarella, Chris Carini, Town Clerk Kate Murray and Receiver Jeanine Driscoll joined with local spiritual leaders at Seamans Neck Park to stress unity and vigilance against anti-Semitism and discrimination.

The vandalism comes after the town launched an anti-graffiti task force, which is co-chaired by Clavin and Carini, who is a former police officer. The town recently passed legislation to increase fines for graffiti vandalism. The town also recently increased patrols of public safety officers near houses of worship during the High Holy Days of Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur.

Goosby said it is “unacceptable” to have anti-Semitism and hate symbols in the town.

“In Hempstead Town, we pride ourselves on the diversity and strength of our communities and it’s important for all of us to band together, across all faiths, to speak out against these messages of hate and bias,” Goosby said.

Clavin and the Town Board directed the Parks and Public Safety Departments to boost patrols and perform additional check-ups and inspections of park equipment. Officials said they will work with parks staff and other departments to discuss enhanced security measures, including possibly installing cameras at some locations.

“No person should ever feel threatened because of their religion, and we’re here to stand together to assure members of our township’s Jewish community and of all faiths that we are unified against hate of all forms,” Dunne said.

Carini said he was “truly disgusted” by the vandalism.

“The unfortunate reality is that this anti-Semitism still exists across our nation, and we must always be vigilant and never let our guard down,” Carini said. “As co-chair of the town’s Graffiti Task Force, I will work with my fellow Town Board colleagues and members of the community to address these hate crimes and prevent them from happening again.”