Jan 25, 2022

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As the holiday of Hanukkah ended on Monday, a look back shows that a wave of antisemitic attacks targeting menorahs. The Combat Antisemitism Organization noted, “The annual eight-day Jewish holiday of Hanukkah is generally accompanied by a spike of antisemitic incidents worldwide, and this year was no different, unfortunately.” The Combat Antisemitism Movement (CAM) Information Hub monitored 17 reports of antisemitic incidents specifically tied to public menorah displays or other Hanukkah celebrations.

The New York State Police Hate Crimes Task Force is investigating a case of vandalism targeting a menorah in Hollis Hills, Queens on Friday night. In the same evening, two Jewish children and a Jewish teenager were assaulted on the streets of Brooklyn.

A  460-pound steel menorah in Penn Square in Lancaster, Pennsylvania was knocked over. Several of the menorah’s arms were bent forward. Letters spelling out the word “Lancaster” were also bent, with the base of the letters being disconnected from the rest of the installation. Several of the menorah’s metal “branches” also appeared to have been cut. The menorah was on public display adjacent to a Christmas tree that was untouched.

In the Federal Hill neighborhood of Baltimore, Maryland, a rock was thrown through the front window of a home where a mother, father, and their two children had lit the candles of their menorah just minutes earlier.

In Los Angeles, California, an antisemitic leaflet was found at the base of a menorah standing outside Congregation Mogen David, in the Beverlywood neighborhood. And in nearby Hollywood, a man driving a white pickup truck stole a six-foot tall menorah from the yard of a home.

Antisemitic stickers depicting images of Hitler were plastered onto the sign in front of the  Asbell Center for Jewish Life at Dickinson College located in Carlisle, Pennsylvania on the first night of Hanukkah.

Though not an attack on a menorah, a city hall Hanukkah menorah display in the city of Medford, Massachusetts outraged many members of the Jewish community as it depicted a menorah facing backward with an explanation below that referenced Christianity. “It had very antisemitic tropes in the sense of it was trying to make Hanukkah into a Christian holiday. It had references to the cross, to Jesus and sins of Israel,” former Temple Shalom President David Sayres told a local TV station.

A large Hanukkah menorah placed in the main square of Dnipro, Ukraine was knocked down. Five young men carrying out the attack were seen on security cameras but have yet to be caught. The city has a relatively large Jewish community. Also in Ukraine, a man was arrested as he tipped over a large menorah on display in Kiev, the capital on Sunday night. The same display was also toppled in Kiev last year. Other menorahs were desecrated in Kryvyi RihUzhhorodRivne, and Nikolaev.

A nine-foot menorah outside the  Etz Chayim Synagogue and Chabad of Huntsville, Alabama was stolen from the front lawn. The synagogue was targeted by graffiti last Passover.

A menorah on display in Camden in northwest London was tipped over and the branches were broken. Police opened an investigation and are treating the incident as a hate crime. Also in London, a group of young Jews celebrating Hanukkah were attacked by a group of men shouting antisemitic slogans, giving Nazi salutes, and slamming and spitting on their party bus as it drove down Oxford Street.

In Hof, Germany, a menorah put up outside St. Mary’s Church was hit and damaged by a truck, the second such incident at the location since 2019. And also in Germany, a menorah on display in central Nuremberg was damaged twice by vandals.