Photo Credit: YouTube screenshot
Governor Kathy Hochul at the Museum of Jewish Heritage, Oct. 6, 2021.

New York Governor Kathy Hochul on Tuesday slammed an incident on Saturday in which antisemitic vandals knocked over a large public Hanukkah menorah that was installed at an intersection in Queens, New York.

Hochul said in a tweet, “Jewish New Yorkers should be able to celebrate Hanukkah without being subjected to acts of antisemitic hate.

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“I have directed the NYS Police Hate Crimes Task Force to assist in the investigation of this disturbing act against our Jewish neighbors,” she added.

Chabad-Lubavitch emissary Rabbi Yerachmiel Zalmanov, who heads Chabad of Eastern Queens and who erected the menorah, reported the incident to NYPD.

In 2014, a similar incident occurred at the same location, on Union Turnpike and 220th Street. No arrests were ever made in that case.

Democratic Queens State Assemblyman David Weprin told reporters Tuesday the menorah was knocked into the road. Most of the lights on the menorah were broken by the vandals.

“Chanukah is a time of peace and joy. No acts of vandalism or anti-Semitism will ever be tolerated,” Weprin said in a statement.

“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,” he added.

The New York – New Jersey Anti-Defamation League (ADL) “strongly condemned” the vandalism, saying Hanukkah should be about “celebration, not destruction.”

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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.