Hostility and prejudice towards Jewish individuals reached an all-time high in the Garden State in 2021, according to data released Tuesday by the Anti-Defamation League.

New Jersey was home to 370 antisemitic incidents last year, according to the new figures. That's the highest number ever recorded by the ADL for the state, and it was the second-highest number recorded by any state in 2021, behind New York.

"The number of incidents inspired by antisemitism and racism are at historic levels and we are alarmed by the dramatic increase in antisemitic incidents in New Jersey," said Andrew Goretsky, regional director of the ADL's Philadelphia office serving South Jersey. "ADL is working closely with victims, law enforcement, and community leaders to help reverse this trend."

New Jersey's count represents 14% of the total number of antisemitic incidents recorded across the United States in 2021 (2,717 — also an all-time high). New Jersey's previous high was 345 in 2019.

New Jersey's reported incidents in 2021 included 252 incidents of harassment, 112 incidents of vandalism, and six incidents of assault.

Three of the six assaults occurred in Ocean County, which has a heavy population of Orthodox Jewish individuals. But at 70, Bergen County recorded the highest number overall of antisemitic incidents in 2021, followed by Ocean County, at 44.

"As we discuss the statistics, it is important to remember that each data point represents real victims and real communities suffering real pain and real fear," Goretsky said.

The ADL is particularly concerned with the uptick in incidents that took place at Jewish institutions in New Jersey, as these establishments serve as major resource hubs for the community. The 2021 total, 44, far exceeded the 25 recorded in 2020 and the 18 reported in 2019.

Eighty-two of New Jersey's reported incidents occurred in non-Jewish K-12 schools, including 40 incidents of harassment.

Falling in line with the nation as a whole, New Jersey recorded the highest number of antisemitic incidents last year in the month of May, directly coinciding with the escalating conflict between Israel and Hamas in Gaza, according to the ADL.

Dino Flammia is a reporter for New Jersey 101.5. You can reach him at dino.flammia@townsquaremedia.com

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