Half-way through the Chanukah holiday, and already several chanukiot have been vandalized, according to JTA Wire Service. First, a 6-foot menorah in front of the Chabad Lubavitch of Utah was vandalized.
Three branches of the menorah were ripped off its left side and dropped in front of the Chabad House in Salt Lake City early Sunday morning, according to reports.
The center has been at its current location since 2005 and erected a menorah every year. It is the first time the menorah has been vandalized.
Rabbi Benny Zippel, executive director of the Chabad Lubavitch of Utah, said he believes the desecration was vandalism and not connected to anti-Semitism. He said he would press charges if the vandals were caught, however.
Meanwhile, a 9-foot menorah stolen Saturday night from the front of the Chabad of Northwest Indiana in Munster, Ind., was recovered the following day. It had been dumped in a backyard about a half-mile away.
Abroad, in Hungary, three vandals of public menorahs in the Hungarian capital of Budapest reportedly turned themselves into police.
Police were searching for a fourth vandal in the attacks they said took place over the weekend on four menorahs throughout the city, Hungary’s Club Radio reported. The vandalism was captured on public surveillance cameras.
The Hungarian daily newspaper Nepszabadsag reported Monday that the attacks — by vandals who were described as young people — appeared to have been “preplanned and premeditated.”
Chabad erected the four menorahs, which were placed at busy intersections throughout the city. The largest, at about 20 feet high, was erected downtown, according to Chabad, and the others are about 10 feet high.
Chabad has erected public menorahs in Budapest every Chanukah since the fall of communism in 1989. It was the first time that a public menorah has been damaged.