A gigantic Hanukah menorah and dreidel, both of which were artistically decorated with sea-shells, were vandalized in a vain attempt to spoil the Miami Jewish community’s Hanukkah celebration.
Hanukah commemorates how the Jewish people were liberated from oppressive Seulecid Greek rule by the Maccabbees. The Seulecid Greeks attempted to force the Jewish people to abandon their religion. In the spirit of Seulecid Greek tyranny, the Miami vandal sought to interfere with Jewish religious worship, by spray-painting the words “you killed Jesus” on top of the Hanukkah display.
Miami Beach Chabad Rabbi Zev Katz asserted following this incident, “I hoped that people from other religions, we could all get along, we all have what we believe in, respect each other and live with each other.” Nevertheless, Rabbi Katz claimed that while he was upset by this act of intolerance, it would not deter the Hanukkah celebration. According to Katz, “We’re not going to be discouraged. We’re gonna to keep on going. And when people try to stop us, we’re gonna say, not only are you not gonna stop us, but we’re gonna go over and on the top and do more.”
The Anti-Defamation League has condemned this incident. Yael Hershfield, ADL Florida Interim Director, asserted, “It is disheartening to see a religious display of the Jewish festival of Hanukkah stained with an ugly age-old canard that the ‘Jews killed Jesus’ – a deicide charge long since repudiated by the Catholic Church in 1965 when the Vatican Council issued Nostra Aetate. The Miami Beach Hanukkah display is located in an area with high foot traffic and has sadly been seen by many passers-by. ADL denounces this anti-Semitic graffiti which has a clear community-wide impact.”
Unfortunately, this was not the first time that Chabad’s Hanukkah display in Miami has been targeted by anti-Semites. According to Rabbi Katz, “Twelve years ago someone smashed” the Hanukkah menorah, “terrible, and we weren’t sure if we’re going to actually light the menorah the first night of Hanukkah.” However, the Miami Jewish community did still manage to light the Hanukkah menorah then and still are planning to do the same now. Arutz Sheva reported that over 1,000 people are expected to gather for the first night of the Festival of Lights in Miami.
However, the vandalism that targeted Chabad’s Hanukkah display in Miami was not the only case of anti-semitism reported in Florida right before Hanukkah. The Anti-Defemation League also stated that “a large swastika next to curse words were found spray-painted on Temple Beth Torah’s dumpster in Wellington.” Hershfield had the following to state about this incident, “Such bigotry is un-American and a sad reflection of those in our community who attempt to intimidate and offend religious groups through anti-Jewish vandalism.” Police are currently investigating these anti-Semitic attacks. To view news coverage of this incident, see the video below!
Rachel Avraham for United With Israel
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