Photo Credit: courtesy, Chabad of Undergrads at Penn State U
Security footage from Penn State University showing suspects placing vandalized menorah in front of the Sigma Alpha Mu fraternity

The co-director of Chabad of the Undergrads at Penn State University says a vandalized public menorah on campus has provided a lesson in child-rearing.

The large menorah which stands in front of the home of Rabbi Hershy Gourarie and his family was stolen overnight on Friday Oct. 27, and discovered the next day in front of the Sigma Alpha Mu Jewish fraternity.

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Footage captured by a security camera outside the fraternity revealed four suspects, the rabbi said in a statement. “The police have the footage and are doing everything possible to move the investigation forward as quickly as possible,” he said.

“We know with certainty that none of their members were involved. Sigma Alpha Mu was also a target of this incident and they have been working closely with Chabad and with the police since the menorah was stolen.

“I have been in regular contact with the faculty on campus since the incident occurred. This incident is being handled on the highest level and I would like to commend the university for their strong support and zero tolerance for acts of this nature.”

But where there is darkness there is also the opportunity to shed light, and Gourarie pointed out that it is the responsibility of parents, educators and leaders to build the character of youth and to strengthen their moral and ethical values.

“Rabbi Menachem M. Schneerson of righteous memory, leader of the Chabad movement, always emphasized that darkness can only be dispelled by light and hate by love,” he said. “Chabad’s response to this incident will be to rebuild the menorah and increase programming which will be aimed at fostering increased awareness and pride of our Jewish heritage.

“As a society, this incident highlights the importance of teaching our youth that the Creator of the Universe takes a “personal interest” in the actions of each and every individual. This is the way that we can communicate to our students that everyone is accountable for his or her actions — and inaction.”

The rabbi urged those with knowledge of the incident to report that information to the authorities.

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Hana Levi Julian is a Middle East news analyst with a degree in Mass Communication and Journalism from Southern Connecticut State University. A past columnist with The Jewish Press and senior editor at Arutz 7, Ms. Julian has written for Babble.com, Chabad.org and other media outlets, in addition to her years working in broadcast journalism.
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