Florida Zoning Committee Member Receives Antisemitic Mail for Supporting Synagogue, Jewish Museum Plans
A city leader in Boca Raton, Fl., received verbal abuse on social media and via email after supporting plans for a new synagogue and Jewish museum, Florida’s WPTV reported on Wednesday.
“It was disconcerting,” said Glenn Gromann, a member of the Boca Planning and Zoning committee. “It was just something I had not experienced before.”
The vacant lot along East Palmetto Park Road will soon be the home of Chabad of East Boca and a new Jewish museum, My Israel Center. Grossman said he starting receiving antisemitic messages after he voted in favor of the development.
Gromann thinks opposition to the project could be a disguise for antisemitism, but he said he will not be intimidated. He told WPTV, “I supported the project. I would have supported the project if it was a Mosque. If it was a Spanish church. It doesn’t make a difference.”
Some members of the community who oppose the project told WPTV they are not against Jews, but are worried about over-development in the coastal area. They put “save our beaches” signs in their yards, but Gromann believes their concerns are unjustified.
“Save Boca beaches from what? From the synagogue? From Orthodox Jewish people? That sends the wrong message,” he said.
Rabbi Ruvi New, from the Chabad of East Boca, said antisemitic opposition to the development project is producing a climate that promotes antisemitism. He told WPTV, “I am very concerned about a trend where things escalate and we need to nip this. People need to do some soul searching as to what type of environment has been created here.”
He believes plans for the new center could be connected to a possible hate crime that took place on Saturday, when a Jewish student was physically attacked by a passerby and told, “Jews should go back to Auschwitz…Hitler was right.” Police have not connected that incident, whose suspect is still at large, to the development project.