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December 10, 2020 1:08 pm

On First Anniversary of Antisemitic Atrocity at Kosher Market, Jersey City Declares ‘No Place for Hate’

avatar by Algemeiner Staff

Jersey City residents Gregory Pigford and Joseph Berger converse outside the boarded-up kosher market in the Greenville neighborhood, on the first anniversary of the gun attack on the premises. Photo: Reuters / USA Today Network.

Residents of Jersey City, New Jersey, paused on Thursday to commemorate the first anniversary of the deadly antisemitic gun attack that resulted in the deaths of a police officer and three individuals at a kosher market in the Greenville neighborhood.

“On today’s somber one-year anniversary, it’s with heavy hearts that we remember the four lives lost during an attack on the Jewish community and law enforcement in Jersey City,” the New Jersey office of the Department for Homeland Security (DHS) tweeted. “There is #noplaceforhate in this state, and we will strive to keep New Jersey safe and secure for all.”

On Dec. 10, 2019, the two shooters — David Anderson, 47, and Francine Graham, 50 — murdered Jersey City Police Detective Joseph Seals, a father of five children, before driving their U-Haul van to a nearby kosher market, where they shot dead the owner, Mindy Ferencz, employee Douglas Rodriguez and customer Moshe Deutsch.

Investigators later revealed that the van driven by the pair had been packed with explosives, powerful enough to explode the length of five football fields, about 500 yards.

The target of Anderson and Graham — radical Black nationalists who were shot dead after a four-hour gun battle with police — was a Jewish religious school adjacent to the market, where 50 children were studying at the time of the attack. Antisemitic social media postings by the pair were also uncovered as investigators probed further into their backgrounds.

An initial reluctance by the New Jersey authorities to identify the atrocity as an antisemitic crime led to Jersey City Mayor Steven Fulop highlighting this fundamental aspect in the hours that followed the attack.

“That was the rub I had with some officials in Trenton not saying immediately that this was a hate crime,” Fulop told The Algemeiner in an interview in the immediate wake of the attack. “It wasn’t difficult to connect the dots on that, and I think you do a disservice to Judaism, and a disservice to fighting antisemitism and hate, by not calling it out aggressively and early.”

One year on from the attack, Jewish and Black residents of Greenville said the experience had brought them closer together, following tensions when Jewish residents began moving into the neighborhood in significant numbers three years ago.

“We came to understand each other more,” Frank Gilmore — an African American community activist who runs a learning center — told news website North Jersey on Thursday.

“There had been a lack of understanding of our cultural differences,” Gilmore explained.

Chesky Deutch, a leader of the Satmar Hasidic community, told the same outlet that community dialogue since the atrocity “brought a heightened awareness of issues in the neighborhood.”

“Community leaders had the chance to clarify things,” he noted.

US Jewish organizations marked the anniversary of the attack by expressing sympathy with the victims and urging a stepped-up fight against antisemitism and bigotry.



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