One can understand their frustration. Overzealous real estate agents knocking on doors at all hours of the day. Strangers peeking in windows and chatting up children. Individuals parked in front of homes for hours. Sounds crazy. Indeed it does, but there is one big issue: most of these stories are anecdotal. Other than a handful of verified storys, multiple social media pages and media outlets like the Asbury Park Press and the Shore News Network have the residents of Toms River whipped into a frenzy over anecdotal evidence. Anecdotal evidence.
The question begs to be asked: why? Why are the residents of Toms River and other municipalities in Ocean County so concerned about the influx of Orthodox Jews into their towns? Why are they turning out in the hundreds, and in some cases the thousands, to township meetings to denounce the “invasion” of Orthodox Jews? If the issue was only about overzealous and harassing real estate agents, why are there constant references to “Lakewood”, “Jews”, “Hasidics”, “Orthodox Cult”, and even references to the massive conspiracy of Jews from NY, Israel, Lakewood, to take over Toms River and its environs?
In my quest to clear up some of my questions and to piece together this puzzle of madness, I decided to do a little research.
Klu Klux Klan
In February of 2011, the Asbury Park Press ran an article titled “The Unfortunate History of the Klan in Ocean County”. The Klu Klux Klan legally organized in the State of New Jersey in 1923. A short time later the Klan saw Ocean County membership grow to 2,000 members out of a population of 22,155. It did not take much time and the Klan was already heavily involved in activities throughout Ocean County including, Point Pleasant, Lakewood, Brick, Jackson, and Toms River. The Klans activity in in Ocean County is well documented:
On June 17, 1923, members of the Klan got into their robes at Lakewood High School and marched to the First Baptist Church, escorted by state and local police.
The Fourth of July was being celebrated in Huddy Park in Toms River. Hundreds of people gathered there. The Klan burned a 10-foot cross west of the Main Street bridge as its contribution to the celebration.
Further capitalizing on their growing membership in the area, the Klan held various meeting and rallies including the following:
A reported 2,000 people turned out for an August Klan gathering at the Toms River Methodist Church, most of them outside in the driving rain. The women’s auxiliary was there in force. The church, which stood at Hooper Avenue and Washington Street, is gone now, its education building converted into courtrooms for state courts.
In December the Klan rallied at Gulick Field in downtown Toms River, before marching through the streets. An estimated 500 people attended.
On Aug. 11, 1979, David Duke of Louisiana attended a Klan rally in Barnegat and announced he would be a candidate for President. It was hosted by a misguided Aaron Morrison, 17, at his parent’s home, although his parents abhorred the Klan.
One has to wonder how many residents of Toms River were raised by parents or grandparents that were active Klan members or were complicit bystanders?
Of Skinheads and Neo-Nazis
Fast forward to 2015: The Toms River Patch reports that Toms River is home to one of 40 hate groups in the State of New Jersey. New Jersey as a whole is the 4th most active state with Skinhead hate groups in the United States. 75% of the hate groups in NJ are comprised of neo-nazi/skinhead hate groups, with three of them located in Toms River, Point Pleasant, and Brick. The Patch article was based off of data compiled by the Southern Poverty Law Center, an organization dedicated to fighting hate and bigotry and to seeking justice for the most vulnerable members of our society. In 2005, members of “The Hated” skinhead group were nabbed in a bomb plot as reported by the NY Daily News. The Hated is the group that is active in Toms River. One does not have to do further research to determine what these hate groups represent, what they have perpetrated, and what they continue to do.
One has to wonder how the residents of Toms River or Mayor Kelaher can allow a hate group to operate in their town? Are the residents and governing body of Toms River complicit in allowing this hate group to continue to operate? Where are the hundreds of residents that turn out in regards to the invasion of Orthodox Jews?
The United States Census Bureau
On the face of things, it seems that Toms River has a Jew problem. But that is not actually the case. Toms River seems to have a minority problem. Toms River has a African American and Hispanic, amongst others, problem. To determine this, I enlisted the help of the United States Census Bureau. Per the Bureaus 2010 census, Whites (this includes individuals reporting White as their only race) accounted for 89.7% of the towns population. Black or African American alone? 2.8%. Asian alone? 3.7%. I think you get the gist. Toms River has no interest in any minorities. I’d be shocked if the next census indicates an improvement in these numbers. Toms River does not want anyone that does not fit in their proverbial box. And that’s a shame. In 2016, you’d think the hate was long eradicated. Unfortunately, that is not the case. So don’t kid yourself into thinking that its just about the Orthodox Jews, because its not.
I began this article asking, why? Given the aforementioned, I think I know the answer. Hopefully you can come to the same conclusion.