New York police officers (illustrative) . (photo credit:REUTERS)


NEW YORK – The NYPD Hate Crimes Task Force is investigating the vandalism of a large electric menorah at the Carl Schurz Park on Manhattan’s Upper East Side.

The menorah was found on the floor, half broken on Monday morning. It had been lit on Sunday night, the first night of Chanukah, by Congregation Kehilath Jeshurun and Chabad of the Upper East Side.  Close to 1,000 people reportedly attended the annual ceremony.

“Last night we gathered to kindle the menorah, bringing light to the world, and this morning we found that we were met by an act of darkness,” Rabbi Elie Weinstock of Kehilath Jeshurun told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency on Monday. “But light always overcomes darkness.”

Even after being toppled over, the Carl Schurz Park menorah was found still lit up in the morning.

The site Chabbad.org published a response to the vandalism on Monday and quoted Executive Director of Chabad Lubavitch of the Upper East Side Rabbi Ben Tzion Krasnianski saying that this wasn’t the first time that menorah was vandalized. According to him it was first toppled over on Saturday, during Shabbat, but a passer-by picked it back up.

Although it was not planned, the Chabad and the Congregation Kehilat Jeshurun have decided to hold a second lighting ceremony on Monday night as a response to the incidents.

Rabbi Krasnianski said it is a way to “celebrate religious freedom” and show the vandals that “the Jewish response to hate is to fight darkness by increasing in light and joy.”

Mayor Bill De Blasio, whose official residence, Gracie Mansion, is located only two blocks away from Carl Schurz Park condemned the vandalism and said in a statement that “Incidents like this have no place here or anywhere.” De Blasio also attended the re-lighting ceremony on Monday evening.

As reported by The Jerusalem Post