This week it was discovered that over 150 headstones in a Jewish cemetery in the University City suburb of St. Louis had been vandalized. It hasn't yet been officially called a hate crime and there are no suspects in custody. There's been speculation hate was at play however, and it comes at a time the nation is reportedly seeing a surge in related crimes.
St. Louis Public Radio Reporter Rachel Lippmann has been covering this story for NPR. She joined us for an overall update:
CLICK HERE to read Lippmann's story. As she reports, hundreds of volunteers showed up over the week to help with clean up efforts. Politicians like Vice President Mike Pence and Gov. Eric Greitens, the first Jewish governor of Missouri, were there. Over $200,000 has been raised to help repair efforts, including $100,000 by The Jewish Federation of St. Louis. Another fundraising campaign was started by Tarek El-Messidi and Linda Sarsour, who was an organizer of the Women's March on Washington.
The fundraising campaign is called Muslims Unite to Repair Jewish Cemetery and it's through LaunchGood.com. The goal of $20,000 has already been exceeded -- so far over $120,000 has been raised. Tarek El Messidi says, "We wanted to reach out as human beings first and foremost. So if you put the politics aside, religion aside, ethnicity aside -- every human being has the right to rest in peace after they pass away, and every human being should never have to worry about their loved one's graves being harmed." El-Messidi says the silver lining of the situation is that it's forging connection between two groups that don't often work together. Listen to what else he had to say: