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Security at home

Maywood Rotary donates a synagogue’s ‘eyes’

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Mark Sanek of Maywood’s Rotary Club presents a security camera to Rabbi Jarah Greenfield of Reconstructionist Temple Beth Israel. Tom Berntson

Warning: If you have an unshakeable belief that the Jews are an ever-persecuted people, please skip this story.

On the other hand, if you are looking for another example of how the good people of Bergen County have no truck for anti-Semitic vandalism, read on.

Back in December, when 19-year-old Anthony M. Graziano allegedly spray painted hate slogans at the Reconstructionist Temple Beth Israel in Maywood, volunteers from local chapters of Rotary International and the American Legion helped scrub away the graffitti. Now, the synagogue’s neighbors have chipped in to make certain it does not happen again.

Last month, the Maywood Rotary presented the synagogue with a security camera system to monitor the premises. (A lack of security cameras was a common factor of the four area synagogues attacked with graffiti or incendiary devices in recent months; Graziano was arrested and originally charged with just the two synagogue arson attacks. Prosecutors did not accuse him of the graffiti attacks in Maywood and Hackensack until last Friday, when they announced the arrest of a co-conspirator, Aakash Dalal, who they said may have masterminded the attacks; see page 8.)

Maywood’s Rotary chapter has 45 members, said its president, Mark Stanek; he attributes the idea of helping the synagogue with its security needs to member Timothy Eustace, a member of the New Jersey State Assembly and former mayor of Maywood.

Given the idea, the Rotary club quickly chipped in the $300 needed to buy the surveillance system.

“It’s really amazing the amount of support we’ve received,” said Caryn Starr-Gates, a past president of the synagogue. “It’s so heartwarming to know that out of all the negative activities can come such an outpouring of support and positive relationships.

“Having the cameras donated was just great and put us well on our way to securing our building and deterring anybody who might think they could do that again,” she said.

–Larry Yudelson

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