Toms River Patch has a story demonstrating the continuing problems Toms River residents are dealing with as the haredi Jews from nearby Lakewood try to expand their territory.
One day after the Toms River Township enacted a cease and desist order against aggressive real estate agents from Lakewood Township, police have arrested a Lakewood resident for trespassing. While responding to a burglary in progress call, police witnessed Israel Feldbrand, 36, of Twin Oaks Drive, Lakewood, come out of the basement of a Crystal Mile Court home. Feldbrand, claimed that he had been told by the owner that he could go view it to consider purchasing. Feldbrand later changed his story saying that the owner may instead be a real estate company and the home is possibly in foreclosure.
The home lies just south of the Lakewood border and is located in the cease and desist zone.
Stocco said police were called to the home at 5 p.m. for a report of a burglary in progress after a lone man was seen entering the home through a window. Officers watching through the open window saw the man emerge from the basement, and that’s when Feldbrand was arrested, he said.
The investigating officers could not verify the legitimacy of Feldbrand’s claims, Stocco said.
“The arrest of Mr. Feldbrand is further proof of the type of conduct taking place in Toms River by unscrupulous individuals and realtors,“ Mayor Thomas H. Kelaher said. “This type of behavior will not be tolerated and is added justification for the cease and desist ordinance unanimously approved by the Township Council on Tuesday, February 23, 2016.”
“This is the kind of behavior our residents have repeatedly complained about which is the reason the cease and desist ordinance was enacted,” Council President Brian Kubiel said. “Residents should remain vigilant about the safety and security of their residences and report any suspicious activity to the police.”
Feldbrand was charged with one count of criminal trespass and released pending a future court date, Stocco said.
This video from Ashbury Park Press features Toms River residents expressing their concerns about the strange and sometimes dangerous behavior in which haredi home shoppers are engaging.
Toms River Patch has another story about an incident being investigated as a possibly anti-Semitic hate crime. Anti-Semitic graffiti including the words “Burn the Jews” were discovered at the Toms River Riverwood Park playground on March 1.
I generally find the accusation of Jews making such graffiti themselves for sympathy or other motives to be a dodge for real anti-Semites to cover their crimes. But this situation raised a few questions that indicate that may be what happened here. First, the anti-Semitic graffiti was first reported in The Lakewood Scoop after it was notified about the graffiti by Lakewood Civilian Safety Patrol. It was that report that alerted Toms River police that the graffiti existed. Then there is this description of the graffiti itself:
[the graffiti] included the statement, “Burn the Jews,” as well as several other foul words, all scratched into the equipment.
“Many (of the words) included obvious spelling errors,”
It’s well known that haredi English education is minimal and they rarely get any after the age of thirteen in many communities. I think the odds are good that even a playground child would have better spelling skills.
The location of the graffiti raises a couple of questions too:
Riverwood Park falls within the areas covered by the cease-and-desist ordinance.
In consideration of the resistance haredi Jews are finding while trying to aggressively expand their territory into Toms River, haredim could use a sympathetic ear in places like the Toms River Zoning Board of Adjustment hearing the application for variance by Chabad and the Township Council currently dealing with aggressive Lakewood real estate buyers. It’s certainly possible that some kid with poor judgement acted out on something overheard from adults discussing the conflict with Orthodox Jews. But I believe the police should also investigate the possibility that the crime may be yet another tactic by haredim to gain territory in Toms River.