Update 11/1/10 3:37 p.m.: In an email to the student body, Rabbi Klein announced that there will be an open forum on anti-Semitic vandalism Tuesday at 8:30 p.m. in Tech L2-11.
The Chanukah menorah outside the Tannenbaum Chabad House was vandalized Saturday night, between 7:30 and 10:15. The vandal dismantled all nine of the bulbs on top of the electric menorah and broke off one branch.
According to an email sent by Tannebaum Chabad, the Evanston Police Department classified the incident as vandalism to property and as a hate crime. Their investigation is ongoing at this time. No one from the Police Department was available for comment.
Tannenbaum Chabad Rabbi Dov Hillel Klein, who was not in the center during the incident, said he was shocked to receive a call from the police this morning.
“I felt a sense of violation and sadness since I’ve been involved with this community for so long,” Klein said. “That someone would want to go ahead and deface a Jewish institution here at Northwestern, and not only deface the institution, but deface one if its religious symbols, and not just deface it but tried to break it.”
The Chanukah menorah is a religious symbol representing the rededication of the temple following the Maccabee’s revolt. During Chanukah, menorahs are traditionally displayed in public.
Klein compared vandalism to the Blackface event last Halloween and distribution of a Mohammed figure around campus last year.
“We need to come together as one Northwestern and say that this is something that can’t happen in our community,” Klein said. “There’s no way to tell if this was a spontaneous or deliberate act, but either way we need to educate people on the importance of different religious symbols.”
Following consultation with the Chabad executive board, Klein would like to plan some form of public forum to address the incident.
The Tannenbaum Chabad student board is in the process of planning a panel discussion with a police officer, some professors, Klein and University President Morton Schapiro, said board member Emily Davidson, a Weinberg sophomore.
“Saying that Jewish harassment only happened three generations ago [during the Holocaust] is not true, stuff like this still happens and that should be the focus of the discussion,” Davidson said. “We live in Evanston and stuff like that it not supposed to happen.”
The spelling of President Schapiro’s name has been corrected. Thanks to commenter CopyEditor for pointing out the error. North by Northwestern regrets the error.