Police on Sunday morning reported that about 100 headstones had been knocked over at the Mount Carmel Cemetery, with the vandalism thought to have taken place the previous night. Others, including Rabbi Shawn of Philadelphia's Zevit Mishkan Shalom Synagogue, said they counted about 500 headstones toppled or damaged.
Zevit, of Mishkan Shalom in Philadelphia, said there were fewer than 15 people at Mount Carmel when he arrived the morning of February 26.
This is expected to be a two-day cleanup effort at Mount Carmel Jewish Cemetery in Wissinoming, with some labor unions offering up their services for free.
Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney said, "We are doing all we can to find the perpetrators who desecrated this final resting place, and they will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law". Trump was criticized for his handling of the St. Louis incident, which detractors claim was neither swift or forceful enough in its condemnation. Just a week later, over 100 headstones were found similarly knocked over at the Mount Carmel Jewish Cemetery in Philadelphia.
Following an incident Monday in which a Cherry Hill Jewish community center was evacuated after receiving a bomb threat, Democrats in southern New Jersey are condemning the threats and calling on the federal government to provide dedicated security funding to vulnerable communities and institutions.
A GoFundMe account has been created so the Philadelphia community can "stand up together and show that love and community will triumph over hate and bigotry". Police, who are still searching for the culprits, classified the incident as institutional vandalism.
"We are deeply troubled by these rising and ongoing attacks on our Jewish sisters and brothers, and members from our Philadelphia chapter are in route to assist in clean up", said Dr. Nasim Rehmatullah, the group's national vice president. He said one of the first people to arrive after he did was Tarek El-Messidi, a Muslim activist who helped start a campaign to raise money to help fix Chesed Shel Emeth cemetery in University City, Mo. On Monday, the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) reported bomb threats against Jewish schools in Fairfax, Virginia, and Rockville, Maryland, and against a Jewish community center in Asheville, North Carolina.
Philadelphia FOP President John McNesby offered a $3,000 reward towards the arrest.
A Muslim crowdfunding effort to support a Jewish cemetery in Missouri has raised more than $136,000, and organizers say they will use some of the money for a Philadelphia cemetery where similar vandalism occurred. In a Facebook video from the scene, the activist called on Muslims to continue to stand with Jews and other marginalized communities.
"It seems that since we went way over our goal of $20,000 last week for the St. Louis cemetery, that we now have funds to help here", he said in the video.