Photo Credit: UAE Jewish community
Rabbi Levi Duchman lights the Hanukkah menorah in the Israeli pavilion at EXPO 2020 in Dubai, Nov. 28, 2021.

The largest menorah in the city of Oakland, California, was torn apart and tossed into Lake Merritt early Wednesday morning by vandals who also spray painted antisemitic and anti-Israel graffiti on the sidewalk nearby.


The incident is under investigation as a hate crime, according to the Oakland Police Department.

A crew of city workers subsequently retrieved the remnants of the menorah that were strewn on the ground and thrown into the lake.

The 11-foot public menorah was erected outside Lake Merritt’s amphitheater by the city’s Chabad Center of Oakland.

“I feel afraid,” Chabad emissary Rabbi Dovid Labkowski told The Oaklandside. “It makes me feel angry that this would happen in Oakland, a place with so much diversity. It’s a place we want to live together in peace.”

Nevertheless, Labkowski told the news outlet that the center planned to set up the menorah again on Wednesday evening. “We’re going to rebuild it bigger and better. We don’t cower from hate.”

More than 140 city residents, including Mayor Sheng Thao, attended a “Grand Menorah Lighting Ceremony” held by the Chabad Center on the fourth night of Hanukkah to “celebrate the spirit of love & unity in the Oakland community.”

Mayor Thao said in a statement following the destruction that she was “outraged by this desecration and act of vandalism … it breaks my heart. I want to be very clear that what happened was not just an attack on Oakland’s Jewish community but our entire city and our shared values,” she said.

Labkowski observed in a statement to Fox News Digital that there has been an “uptick in antisemitism” in Oakland. “We call on the City of Oakland to do more to combat antisemitism.”

Several antisemitic incidents have been recorded in the city since the start of the Hamas terrorist war on Israel that began October 7th.

The menorah display has been a Chabad Center tradition in Oakland for the past 18 years.

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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, and other media outlets, in addition to her years working in broadcast journalism.