PEABODY — On the heels of a reported anti-Semitic incident in the city, Mayor Edward Bettencourt Jr. and the Peabody Clergy & Ministerial Association will hold a peace rally at City Hall this week.
The event was quickly organized after Rabbi Nechemia Schusterman, co-director of the Chabad of Peabody Jewish Center, and Rabbi Sruli Baron, of the Tobin Bridge Chabad in Everett, reportedly faced slurs and taunts while walking on Lowell Street over the Memorial Day weekend.
“There were three or four large pickups, one with red hubcaps, and modified mufflers to sound really loud that drove by us,” Schusterman wrote on his Facebook page. “The driver of the first truck slowed down, flipped us the bird, and yelled (expletive) Jews. A moment later, he threw a penny out of his window and shouted another anti-Semitic slur, something to the effect of, ‘Go pick up the penny, (expletive) Jew’ … this was simple, clear, unvarnished, hate.”
More than 230 people responded with messages of kindness.
“This is just so wrong,” wrote Rick Kramer. “I am sorry that this happened to you. You and Rabbi Barron are such great examples to all of us.”
Geoffrey P. Sandler, a cook at the Flying Saucer Pizza Co., in Salem, wrote: “I have lived in Peabody for a long time and thanks to the mayor and many hard working people, there is no place for racism in Peabody, we the people of Peabody say no to racism.”
After learning about what happened, Bettencourt posted a Facebook message which described the incident as an act of hate.
“I ask our entire community to come together to condemn such despicable words and actions,” he wrote. “We offer our support for Rabbi Shusterman and Rabbi Baron and we pledge to stand together with the Jewish community in the face of such hatred. The city of Peabody is and will continue to be a welcoming community which values inclusion, tolerance, and respect for all.”
The solidarity rally is scheduled for Wednesday on the steps of City Hall at 4 p.m.