Vandals Again Target San Diego State Chabad House, Attempt to Topple Menorah
Continuing a wave of antisemitic hate crimes on college campuses across the United States, two women were filmed vandalizing the Chabad House at San Diego State University (SDSU) on Friday.
The incident marked the second time since April that the Jewish center, which opened at SDSU in 1977, has been targeted.
Security cameras monitoring the property captured video of the crime, according to CBS8 local news — showing one woman pulling on the decorative menorah mounted in front of the center until one of its branches broke, and another holding a torn piece of fabric from a Chabad banner commemorating Jewish heritage.
The Chabad House menorah has stood in front of the building for twenty years, said Chabad House Rabbi Chalom Boudjnah on Tuesday.
“The hardest part was seeing that people really wanted to attack it, and in a way to attack us and our beliefs and what a menorah represents to us.” he told The San Diego Union-Tribune. “That was really painful.”
The Chabad House was previously broken into on April 15, with offenders posting pictures online of sentimental photographs stolen from the Jewish center.
“We’ve had across the street, right behind us, the dorms were tagged with swastikas, we’ve had an online comment of hate on Instagram, saying the world doesn’t need the Jews. It’s been going on and were very, very disappointed and very hurt by it,” Boudjnah told CBS8.
On Saturday, SDSU Hillel denounced the hate crime in a statement on Instagram, saying, “Our hearts are broken and we are also angry at a second vile act of antisemitic vandalism at SDSU Chabad.”
“When will this hate stop? This is simply unacceptable. San Diego State University should be a safe place for Jewish students we will continue to work with the administration, Chabad, ADL, and other community partners to ensure Jewish students feel seen and heard,” the Jewish group said.
SDSU President Adela de la Torre labeled the vandalism “beyond offensive” in a statement to ABC 10News.
“To members of our Jewish community,” she said, “Our campus community stands with you and is in opposition to every act of bias and discrimination targeting you –all of which fail to undermine who you are and the many positive contributions you make to our community.”
Calling the act an “appalling act of antisemitism,” Vice President for Student Affairs and Campus Diversity and Chief Diversity Officer J. Luke Wood pledged support to Jewish students on campus.
“With antisemitic assault, harassment and vandalism occurring at higher rates across the nation, these incidents do not push us into the ground; they do the opposite,” he said.
“This event is among a series of events that have occurred in recent months. We remain motivated, will continue to be direct in our support of our Jewish community and will continue elevating the lives and experiences of those within our community. As a university and community, we strongly condemn antisemitism and hate.”