Report: Phoenix-area synagogue vandalized on first night of Hanukkah
PHOENIX — Reports surfaced that a Sun City synagogue was vandalized on the first night of Hanukkah, sparking rumors of a possible hate crime in the Valley.
Jewish News reported that Temple Beth Shalom and Jewish Community Center of the Northwest Valley reported damage done to several fixtures at the synagogue, including a menorah, a Holocaust memorial and a basketball hoop.
A board member visited the synagogue on Dec. 25, the first day of Hanukkah, to make sure the menorah was lit up in correspondence of the Jewish holiday, but found “deep tire marks” next to the structure. Two of the menorah’s arms were also twisted downward.
Temple Beth Shalom’s Rabbi Shelly Moss told the publication that the menorah has been on the synagogue’s grounds for more than 30 years.
It appeared that someone or a group of people appeared to drive a car into the menorah and disfigure it.
“They trashed that just to trash it,” he told Jewish News.
Moss said the synagogue had trouble in the past with copper thieves, but said that no copper was taken. He said he believes the incident was no random accident, but specifically a hate crime.
“It would be real happenstance to see that they just happened to pick the first night of Hanukkah to tear this apart,” he told Jewish News.
The crime is being investigated by the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office and the Anti-Defamation League. A GoFundMe account has been started to raise the $16,000 necessary to make the repairs. At the time of publication, $974 was raised.
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