Lessons learned

Lessons learned

The Jews of Bergen County can breathe a sigh of relief, now that a suspect in the synagogue firebombings has been arrested. Still at large, however, are those responsible for the December graffitti attacks against synagogues in Maywood and Hackensack.

There are still people around who hate Jews enough to act on it. We hope they have learned the lesson deliberately sent by the Bergen County Prosecutor’s Office: Hate has no place in Bergen County, and will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.

We, too, have learned a lesson: Hate does not resonate among our non-Jewish neighbors.

We have seen it in the determined and clever detective work that led to the arrest.

We have seen it in the statements from our area’s elected officials – not all of whom are Jewish – condemning the attacks on synagogues.

Most important, we have seen it in the non-Jews – community leaders, Christian and Muslim clergy, ordinary lay people – who turned out for the interfaith events held in response to the violence. This, our non-Jewish neighbors insisted by word and deed, is not the American way. They felt embarrassed that this could happen in their community.

We applaud the law enforcement community for a job very well done. We applaud our political leadership for being united in reacting to these horrific events. We especially applaud our non-Jewish neighbors for showing us that whatever our differences may be, when hate rears its head, we will stand as one to defeat it.