Four days into Hanukkah, Brooklyn Rabbi Mendy Hecht discovered two public menorah displays vandalized on Tuesday morning, in what the New York Police Department and Parks Department are investigating as an anti-Semitic hate crime.
“Taken out of its place, torn apart, broken. … That’s something more than I’ve ever experienced,” the Chabad rabbi told DNAInfo, describing the condition of the two menorahs, located in the Underhill Playground and Park Slope Playground. He said one of the menorahs had one of its arms ripped out, with its wiring taken off, while another had been pushed off its base and slanted.
Hecht held a Hanukkah celebration Wednesday night at the Park Slope Playground, distributing latkes and gifts to the children after the incident. Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams attended, his office telling the news site that he wants to “denounce acts of hate attempting to disrupt the holiday season in Brooklyn.”
Following President-elect Donald Trump’s victory, New York has seen a spike in hate crime, many of them involving anti-Semitic and pro-Trump graffiti in public spaces including parks, apartment buildings, trains and phone booths. City police documented a one-third spike in bias incidents during the month of November, while state authorities have pledged to devote more resources to the investigation of hate crimes.
Daniel J. Solomon is the Assistant to the Editor/News Writer at the Forward. Originally from Queens, he attended Harvard as an undergraduate, where he wrote his senior thesis on French-Jewish intellectual history. He is excited to have returned to New York after his time in Massachusetts. Daniel’s passions include folk music, cycling, and pointed argument.