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Ice Menorah Vandalized in Second Holiday Attack on the Upper East Side

Upper East Side (UES) Chabad Israel Center’s ice-carved menorah was smashed Wednesday night in an apparent anti-Jewish attack. 

The shattered menorah, stationed at the corner of East 93rd Street and 2nd Avenue, follows another antisemitic vandalism which occurred at the same center in October during the Sukkot holiday. 

Rabbi Uriel Vigler, who heads the Chabad Israel Center on the UES, the commissioners of the ice menorah, called Wednesday’s act, which occurred on the fourth night of Hanukkah, “malicious and intentional.”

“The ice was smashed from both sides,” he said. “Also on Sukkot we faced this kind hate when our [sukkah] was vandalized. On Hanukkah Jews light the menorah purposely at night time in order to spread light, because just of bit of light dispels the darkness. 

Yoav Davis, founder of the Instagram account @Jews_of_NY, which boasts more than 80K followers, condemned the act. “The amount of antisemitic hate crimes we get alerted about from our followers in New York really is heartbreaking,” he told The Jerusalem Post. “On the subways in the streets and now also towards Jewish monuments it’s just never been [this] bad here. We need our allies and our elected representatives to speak up and do a lot more.” 

Hanukkah celebrations and public menorah lightings are continuing to light up New York despite the incident on Wednesday.

On Thursday, the fifth night of the Jewish festival of lights, the Jewish community is set to honor the New York Police Department (NYPD)’s efforts in confronting antisemitism and acts of hatred throughout the city  by lighting the world’s largest menorah together. 

The lighting will take place on Fifth Avenue and 59th Street in Midtown Manhattan. Notable NYPD officials will be in attendance including First Deputy Police Commissioner Edward Caban and recently-appointed Chief of Department Jeffrey Maddrey, Inspector Richie Taylor and Joel Eisdorfer, senior advisor to Mayor Eric Adams. 

Antisemitic hate crimes across New York City’s five boroughs more than doubled last month from a year ago, NYPD data revealed. The concerning rise unfolded against a backdrop of high-profile figures making headlines for remarks targeting Jews.