St. Louis, Missouri police reported that over 100 headstones in the Chesed Shel Emeth Society Cemetery were vandalized over Presidents Day weekend. This Jewish cemetery, located in the University City area, has been in existence for over 125 years and is dedicated to traditional Jewish integrity, respect, and reverence. Yet coincidentally - or not so coincidentally - vandals struck on the same day that the POTUS denounced numerous bomb threats against nationwide Jewish Community Centers.

Destroying a Jewish cemetery is an act of violence

Beyond any other type of act that it may be, destroying countless headstones in a cemetery is an act of tremendous violence.

Though the St. Louis police have yet to identify the criminals involved in this destruction, when they do, criminal charges will be filed. Along with the personal suffering of those touched by the vandalism, there are also significant financial costs associated with it. Many groups in St. Louis have already begun the rebuilding process, calling for both volunteers and donations to swiftly and positively answer and end this violent act.

Beyond violence, it is an act of disrespect

It is also a tremendous act of disrespect. Cemeteries are hallowed grounds at all times, in all societies, in all countries. Denigrating them in any way unsettles the 100+ immediate Jewish families of the deceased plus the broader community and world beyond.

It affects all of us. Missouri Governor Eric Greitens in his tweet called it "a senseless act of desecration" as well as "cowardly." The Jewish community of St. Louis suffered the blow, but the United States and the world beyond felt its pain.

A continued act of racism

Whether or not the perpetrators intentionally targeted a Jewish cemetery is of no concern at this point.

The fact is that it is Jewish and the community is suffering. Once again the world is witness to continued persecution of a specific group who has experienced and continues to experience such racist acts.

It is unfortunate that this type of persecution isn't beyond their comprehension, though it should be. All of us should be well beyond acceptance - at any level - of that which destroys the religious freedoms of those who the United States of America purports to protect.