As communities across the country celebrate Hanukkah, there has been a series of anti-Semitic incidents targeting public displays of menorahs.
The Anti-Defamation League has fielded reports of at least seven incidents this year, including the desecration of public menorahs displays in New York, Illinois, and Florida.
In one of the more disturbing incidents reported, a public candle-lighting ceremony on December 13 in Fairfield, Connecticut was sabotaged by three men who unfurled flags bearing a swastika, an iron cross and the symbol of the SS.
The men hurled anti-Semitic epithets and obscenities before fleeing the scene as police arrived. Fairfield Police are investigating the incident, although they have said the men may not have violated the law.
Typically during the December holiday season, Jewish menorahs become targets for acts of vandalism or desecration often motivated by anti-Semitism. Every year similar incidents are reported to ADL, with vandals targeting menorah displays on both public and private property.
The following is a sampling of menorah vandalism incidents reported to ADL in 2009:
- December 20: Swastikas and anti-Semitic messages were found written in the snow around the base of an outdoor menorah in Goshen, NY.
- December 16: Amenorah atop a car at the Chabad Student Center in Boca Raton, FL, was pelted with eggs.
- December 14: A motorist deliberately destroyed a menorah display in front of a residential village in Hobe Sound, Martin County, FL.Policewere investigating the incident as a hate crime.
- December 13: Three men with Nazi flags protested near a Menorah-lighting in Fairfield, CT.
- December 12: A menorah was vandalized in Ronkonkoma, NY.
- December 11: A menorah was vandalized and cast into a pond in Stony Brook, NY.
- Week of December 6: A 9-foot menorah was stolen from the Chabad of Key Biscayne, Fl.
- December 5 or 6: A large steel menorah placed in a park as part of a youth community service project was knocked over and damaged by vandals in Libertyville, Illinois.
- December 4: An 11-foot menorah was overturned in Holbrook, NY.