Flicker of hope: Ridge menorah remains lit after vandals strike

Flicker of hope: Ridge menorah remains lit after vandals strike
Photo by Georgine Benvenuto

It was a Hanukkah miracle!

The Chabad of Bay Ridge’s 9-foot menorah shone through the night after Hanukkah goblins trashed the festive candelabrum early Dec. 10. The holiday celebrates the biblical Jews’ rededication of the Temple and their miraculously keeping a lamp therein lit for eight days using only one day’s worth of oil — so congregants naturally saw deep meaning in the toppled-but-still-illuminated electric menorah, the synagogue’s rabbi said.

“We definitely saw it as symbolic,” said Rabbi Tzvi Stroh. “It was a member of the congregation that noticed the lights were still on. He said ‘Wow isn’t that amazing, with what they tried to do?’ That’s part of what gave us the encouragement to put it back up again and answer them with light.”

The Chabad secured the menorah onto a 3-foot piece of steel this year, because wind apparently knocked it over last year. But it wasn’t wind that bowled over the symbol of perseverance, a Chabad member said.

“This guy was out to get us,” said Hanoch Barhorin a volunteer at the Chabad. “It wasn’t the wind, you can see that if you look at it. The 68th Precinct also said this was deliberate.”

Barhorin saw the menorah erect and aglow around 2 am Dec. 10, but residents phoned him in the morning when they saw it on its side, the steel holding it up bent at a 45-degree angle, he said. The vandals also removed a sign wishing passers by a happy Hanukkah, he said.

Chabad members re-erected the beacon that day in defiance of the delinquents who tipped it, Barhorin said.

“With Hanukkah, we are trying to illuminate the world, but some people are trying to make it a darker place,” he said. “So we put the menorah right back up again, which the police also said was important to do, to show we are not afraid.”Three days later, Chabad members marked the end of Hanukkah with the annual menorah parade by driving around Bay Ridge with candelabra on their cars and playing music. The parade took on a new meaning in light of the vandalism, Barhorin said.

“We are not giving up or giving in to this attack, that is very important to us,” he said.

Reach reporter Dennis Lynch at (718) 260–2508 or e-mail him at dlync[email protected]local.com.

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