Over the weekend, somebody vandalized the Hannukah menorah in front of a synagogue in Salt Lake City. But the rabbi doesn’t think it was meant as a hate crime.
The Chabad Lubavitch synagogue on 11th East puts up the eight-branched menorah, or candelabra, every year to commemorate the ancient miracle that kept the temple lamps in Jerusalem burning for eight days. It’s made of aluminum, with wiring inside for the light bulbs. Rabbi Benny Zippel says he got a call from the police on Sunday, saying somebody had torn three branches off the menorah. But he says there was no graffiti or any other indication that the vandalism was motivated by prejudice against Jews.
Zippel tells KUER, “This to me looked more like just a bunch of, I mean, there is a bar just down the street from us where there’s a lot of people hanging out at night drinking. It didn’t have the connotation of a typical anti-Semitic attack.”
The aluminum menorah has now been repaired, and Zippel says they might get a sturdier version for next year.
Governor Gary Herbert will welcome Rabbi Zippel to a menorah-lighting ceremony Monday evening at 6:00. It will include a remembrance of Kristallnacht, when Jewish homes and businesses were vandalized by Nazis in Germany 75 years ago.