Teen Charged with Hate Crime for UES Menorah Topplings - The Jewish Voice
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Teen Charged with Hate Crime for UES Menorah Topplings

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Mayor Bill de Blasio joins community members and residents for the re-lighting of the menorah in Carl Schurz Park, which was vandalized. Carl Schurz Park, Manhattan. Monday, December 7, 2015. (Photo Credit: Ed Reed/Mayoral Photography Office)

A 14-year-old boy has been arrested for allegedly pushing over the menorah in Carl Schurz Park near Gracie Mansion on Manhattan’s Upper East Side.

WCBS-TV (http://cbsloc.al/1lLcnQ8 ) says the boy reportedly told authorities he knocked over the 100-pound menorah twice this month because he was bored.

The juvinille is now being charged with criminal mischief as well as a hate crime.

The menorah was vandalized in Carl Schurz Park on December 5th and 6th.

The menorah was righted and re-lit on December 7. Mayor Bill de Blasio who attended the ceremony said it was important to “stand up” for what is right and “show our resilience.”

Police found the menorah on its side with one half broken into pieces Monday morning, December 7, at Carl Shurz Park on 86th Street and East End Avenue, two blocks from the mayor’s official residence at Gracie Mansion. They believe it had been toppled over on both Saturday and Sunday nights.

“Incidents like this have no place here or anywhere,” New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said in a statement.

Congregation Kehilath Jeshurun and Chabad of the Upper East Side lit the menorah in a highly attended ceremony Sunday night and conducted an additional lighting at 8 p.m. Monday.

“Last night we gathered to kindle the menorah, bringing light to the world, and this morning we found that we were met by an act of darkness,” Rabbi Elie Weistock of Kehilath Jeshurun said Monday. “But light always overcomes darkness, and tonight we plan to light the menorah again.”

The New York Police Department’s Hate Crimes Task Force is investigating the incident, WNBC in New York reported.

JTA reports the following comments regarding the re-lighting of the vandalized menorah last Monday:

“It was a time to call the community back to add some light to darkness,” Rabbi Elie Weinstock of the Congretation Kehilath Jeshurun said to the gathered crowd, which included Mayor Bill de Blasio.

“This is the epitome of who we are because even when confronted by hatred, by division, we stand up, we show our strength, we show our resilience,” de Blasio said.

The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) issued a statement calling the incident troubling.

“The desecration of one of the most recognizable Jewish symbols is abhorrent,” said Evan R. Bernstein, ADL New York Regional Director. “Particularly on Hanukkah – a festival in which Jews celebrate their victory in the fight for religious freedom – we are pained by this apparent act of hate.”

Sam Stein

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