Hanukkah Menorah Vandalized in New Jersey amid Wave of Antisemitic Attacks

Mendham-menorah
Mendham Borough Police Department

A public menorah display in New Jersey was vandalized during Hanukkah amid a string of antisemitic attacks in the state and neighboring New York, law enforcement confirmed Monday.

NJ Advance Media reports the Mendham Borough menorah was knocked over and five of its light bulbs were broken on Friday. The Hanukkah display, which is inside a public park, has since been repaired.

“Any act of vandalism directed at any religion, race, gender or age should never be tolerated in our towns. This incident is being investigated by our Police Department in cooperation with the Sheriff’s Department, and all appropriate protocols will be followed,” a statement reads from Borough Mayor Serrano Glassner.

Detective Chris Irons told NJ Advance Media that the incident is being investigated as a possible “bias crime,” the first in Mendham Borough for 2019. No arrests have been made in connection to the incident.

The Mendham Borough’s Jewish community will light the menorah’s final candle later this evening, Hanukkah’s final night.

“As we begin a new year, let’s stand with our friends and neighbors and show that hate has no home in the Mendhams or in any other community,” Amalia Duarte, a Mendham Township committeewoman, wrote in a Facebook post.

The report comes after federal prosecutors filed hate crime charges against a man suspected of stabbing five people during a Hanukkah celebration at a rabbi’s house in Monsey, New York.

Grafton Thomas, of Greenwood Lake, New York, has pleaded not guilty to five state counts of attempted murder and one count of burglary stemming from the machete-wielding attack.

He is being held on $5 million bail with his next court appearance Friday.

Meanwhile, federal prosecutors for the Southern District of New York also weighed in with additional hate crime charges against Thomas, a 37-year-old black man.

FBI investigators said they found journal entries allegedly written by Thomas in which he expressed antisemitic views, referencing Adolf Hitler and “Nazi culture.”

They said another journal entry allegedly stated that “Hebrew Israelites” had victimized “ebonoid Israelites,” which the FBI took to mean black Americans claiming descent from the ancient tribes of Israel.

Earlier this month, two armed suspects shot dead three people at a Jewish supermarket in Jersey City. The two assailants were killed by police.

The NYPD is currently investigating at least six different antisemitic attacks since December 13.

The UPI contributed to this report. 

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