Mayor Condemns Vandalizing Of Public Menorah On Hanukkah


Mariane Angela Contributor
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A public menorah in California was destroyed Wednesday, prompting a police hate crime investigation, according to Democratic Oakland Mayor Sheng Thao’s office.

A large public menorah, a symbol of the Jewish festival of Hanukkah, was found destroyed in Oakland, California, the mayor said in a statement. The destruction of the menorah was accompanied by antisemitic graffiti, which could be seen in a video posted on Twitter. The footage also showed the pieces of the destroyed menorah tossed onto the sidewalk and into Lake Merritt.

Thao, who had recently participated in the menorah lighting, released a statement to condemn the act as an attack on the city’s core values of inclusivity and solidarity.

“The Lake Merritt Menorah is a long-standing and important symbol for Oakland’s Jewish community and it breaks my heart that it was vandalized,” Thao’s statement reads. “I want to be very clear that what happened was not just an attack on Oakland’s Jewish community but our entire city and our shared values. We stand together against hate, against antisemitism, and against bigotry in any form.”

“When someone commits such a crime, they are attacking the foundation of our City,” the mayor added. “I have asked Interim Chief Allison to investigate this incident as a hate crime.”

The menorah was installed by Rabbi Dovid Labkowski and his community and has resonated deeply within and beyond Oakland’s Jewish population, according to CBS News. Labkowski’s reaction to the vandalism was one of both dismay and resilience.

“I feel outraged. I feel upset. A symbol that symbolizes light is destroyed by hate,” he told KPIX, a local CBS affiliate. “We are going to build bigger and stronger. You can break our menorah but you can not diminish or extinguish the light of our souls.”

The incident occurred on the sixth day of the jewish holiday, Hanukkah.