Northeast Queens lawmakers were joined by religious and community leaders in Hollis Hills on Tuesday, Nov. 30, to denounce the desecration of a large menorah at the Chabad House of Eastern Queens during the start of Hanukkah.
State Assembly members David Weprin and Nily Rozic, along with Senator John Liu, Councilman Barry Grodenchik, Rabbi Yerachmiel Zalmanov, Rabbi David Wise, Rabbi Gary Greene and Rabbi Mayer Waxman, gathered at the traffic island at the intersection of Union Turnpike and 220th Street where the menorah was erected.
In the early evening of Saturday, Nov. 27, the large menorah was knocked into the road and most of its lights were broken, according to Zalmanov, who reported the incident to the NYPD.
“Hanukkah is a time of peace and joy. No acts of vandalism or anti-Semitism will ever be tolerated,” Weprin said. “Each incident is dehumanizing and a repugnant stain on our community. We are watching. The hard-working members of law enforcement are watching. And this community — where we always have each other’s backs — is watching.”
While noting a previous anti-Semitic incident that took place barely a week ago at Bagels & Co. where a man entered the establishment and threatened the owner, staff and patrons, Liu said they are compelled to once again gather in defiance of yet another act of intolerance.
“This vandalism occurred as New Yorkers celebrated the first night of Hanukkah stings all the more, but our community will never waiver in our determination to fight back against hatred and division in any form,” Liu said.
This isn’t the first time the large menorah was vandalized. A similar incident occurred twice in December 2014, when the menorah was torn down and many of its bulbs were shattered.
Congresswoman Grace Meng condemned the “despicable” act of vandalism as the Jewish community celebrates Hanukkah.
“There is no place anywhere in our society for anti-Semitism and hate, particularly here in Queens, where we welcome and embrace the great diversity throughout our borough. We will not tolerate this disgusting and cowardly behavior, and we must continue to call out these crimes. Those responsible must be held accountable,” Meng said.