Local woman’s grandparents buried in vandalized Jewish cemetery

Local woman’s grandparents buried in vandalized Jewish cemetery

Recent acts of anti-Semitism — including a threat at a Wisconsin Jewish center — have hit too close to home for a local woman.

Kathy Utley grew up in a split household with a Catholic mother and a Jewish father. Her grandparents were buried in the St. Louis cemetery that was recently vandalized. Their stones were fortunately untouched, but Utley said it brought back memories of visiting the gravestones with her parents.

“Not only was it personal but it was also maybe shocking in a way, that here we are again,” she said. “Here are these people … who came here to this country to escape persecution, to raise their children in one of the greatest democracies in the world. That’s why people come here.”

It’s with that same shock and surprise that Utley took the news that Tuesday, a Jewish center in Whitefish Bay was shut down due to threats.

“I’m really deeply concerned about the direction that this country and culture is going through right now,” she said. “I just can’t believe we’re back here again.”