‘Disturbing Force’: Vandal Again Topples Menorah at San Diego State Chabad House
by Dion J. Pierre
A man vandalized the Chabad House at San Diego State University on Sunday night, marking the third time since April 2021 that the Jewish center, which opened in 1977, has been targeted.
Security camera footage shared by StopAntisemitism, a nonprofit, shows a man running up to a decorative menorah mounted on the center’s lawn and violently shaking it back and forth until one of its branches break and the structure keels over.
“The menorah is a deeply meaningful symbol of the Jewish people. It is also a symbol of light” J. Luke Wood, SDSU vice president for student affairs and campus diversity, said on Monday. “SDSU stands in solidarity with the Chabad House and all members of the Jewish community and condemns all forms of antisemitism. To be clear: Any acts of vandalism, hatred, or marginalization toward members of our campus community, including our Jewish community, will not be tolerated.”
The Chabad House menorah has stood in front of the building for twenty years. It was last vandalized in June 2021 when a woman pulled down the menorah and another tore a piece of fabric from a Chabad banner commemorating Jewish heritage.
The university has asked anyone with information about this latest incident to contact the San Diego Police Department.
“We are disgusted to hear the menorah at San Diego University Chabad Jewish Center has been vandalized once again,” StopAntisemitism tweeted. “Video footage of the vandalism shows the disturbing force with which the man attacks the menorah; his hatred can almost be sensed through the screen.”
Antisemitic incidents in the United States increased 36 percent in 2022, according to an annual audit issued by the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) earlier this month. The ADL recorded 3,697 incidents — ten per day — across the US, the highest ever since the group began track them in 1979.
Acts of hate targeting Jewish institutions and synagogue also occurred at high rates, with 589 incidents, including a hostage situation at synagogue in Colleyville, Texas, and 91 bomb threats, the most recorded since 2017. Four hundred-and-ninety-four incidents took place on K-12 campuses, and two-hundred-and-nineteen incidents took place at colleges and universities, an increase of 41 percent from the previous year.
Follow Dion J. Pierre @DionJPierre.