IN response to your report about the vandalism at Philips Park cemetery in Whitefield, Greater Manchester, I write as president of Meade Hill Shul and advise that I attended a site meeting with the investigating police officer, representatives of the council, our sexton and representatives of Machzikei Hadass.
It was unanimously agreed that this was not a case of hate crime (antisemitism) but rather a criminal break-in.
In fact, there had been two similar incidents at local premises around the same time, neither having had any Jewish connection.
The grave of the former Manchester Rosh HaYeshiva, Rabbi Yehuda Zev Segal, was damaged and it is speculated that the thieves may have thought that it contained something of intrinsic value, which was not the case.
The late rabbi’s grandson, Rabbi Moshe Kupetz, has the question of repairs and enhanced security in hand and the additional damage to our ohel (stolen copper pipes and damaged sinks) has been repaired. We are not aware of any CCTV system in place and this is something we will consider.
There was no damage to any other gravestones and no paint spraying.
There was damage to three leaded windows, but entry was not affected.
The nature of the media reporting led to a great deal of anxiety and additional fear of antisemitism which in this case was unjustified and could have been avoided had the true facts been reported.
Meade Hill Shul,
* THIS was precisely what the Jewish Telegraph observed in last week’s leader column - EDITOR
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