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Miami University Hillel Sukkah Vandalized

Update October 28th: The City of Oxford Division of Police in Butler County, Ohio, has charged three Miami University students with felony vandalism; more here.

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Three college-aged men trespassed onto the grounds of Hillel at Miami University around 2 a.m. Saturday, Oct. 15 at 11 E. Walnut St. and vandalized a sukkah by throwing the tent-like structure to the ground.  

“The desecration and vandalization of this ritual item and the damage done to our Sukkah is distressing enough,” Hillel at Miami University Executive Director Whitney Fisch wrote in an email to the community about the incident. “While (thankfully) we have an extra Sukkah, what has shaken our students and staff to the core and left me with a pit at the bottom of my stomach is the complete violation of our property, and of our sacred space.” 

A sukkah is a temporary structure built to represent the huts where the Israelites lived during 40 years of wandering the Sinai Desert after escaping slavery from Egypt. The sukkah is used during the weeklong Jewish holiday, Sukkot, which occurs five days after Yom Kippur. 

Fisch wrote that she filed a report with the Oxford Police, who she said are reviewing security camera footage (posted here) and investigating the incident. She said she also alerted Miami President Gregory Crawford’s office about the incident. 

“Our Sukkah may be broken, but our spirit is anything but,” she wrote in the same email. “As upsetting as this incident has been, I feel so uplifted by the wonderful students and staff who have pride in our Jewish community, in our university, and in our Hillel – and no one and no act of vandalism can take that away.”