The Conspiracy

Menorah at UF Vandalized

UF HillelA group of about ten vandals damaged the University of Florida Hillel’s menorah early Saturday morning, according to Hillel Executive Director Keith Dvorchik.

Dvorchik told New Voices that at around 11 p.m. on Friday night, Hillel staff saw about ten men walking through Hillel’s property shouting, “F-ck you, Jews! Happy Hanukkah!” Police came and told the men to leave the property, but on Saturday evening students noticed that, in Dvorchik’s words, the menorah had been pulled from the ground and discarded. Dvorchik assumes that the culprits were the same men who had shouted the expletives, and that they returned a few hours after the police had come.

This incident follows similar ones at Indiana University and the University of Ottawa. At Indiana, the Chabad House and Jewish studies department suffered vandalism, while at Ottawa someone stole and mangled the Jewish community’s Hanukkah menorah. The University of Florida, however, has the largest Jewish population of the three and one of the largest Jewish communities in the country, numbering at 8000.

Dvorchik said that the Jewish community has found a welcome home on campus, and that Saturday’s incident surprised him. He added, though, that he understands why vandals would choose Hanukkah as the time to express their hate.

“Hanukkah provides an easy opportunity to do something because you have a visible menorah,” he said. “You have a clear symbol that’s easy to vandalize.”

This is not the first time that the university has experienced anti-Semitism. According to the Gainesville Sun, vandals spray-painted a swastika on the outside of a Jewish fraternity last year.

Appropriate to the theme of the holiday, the Hillel plans to hold a re-dedication ceremony for the menorah tonight, which Dvorchik thinks will draw Jewish students from across campus. He added that other campus groups have reached out to Hillel in the wake of the news.

Because police have yet to apprehend any suspects, no one can determine the motivations of the vandals. Dvorchik said, though, that he does not think anti-Semitism was their sole motive.

“I think that if the alcohol wasn’t involved, they wouldn’t have done it,” he said. But I also thing they picked it for a specific reason. It wasn’t an accident.”

Tags: , , , , ,

5 Older Responses to “Menorah at UF Vandalized”

  1. Dave Boxthorn
    December 6, 2010 at 5:06 pm #

    I thought they didn’t drink alcohol.

    Waddya know.

  2. David
    December 6, 2010 at 5:24 pm #

    Proof Read!

    “I think that if the alcohol wasn’t involved, they wouldnmt have done it,” he said. But I also thing they picked it for a specific reason. It wasn’t an accident.”

  3. Dave Boxthorn
    December 6, 2010 at 7:01 pm #

    1/ Proofread! My comment is still awaiting ‘moderation’ so you’re writing in the wrong order. It should show up for most people as you criticising nothing.

    2/ Can this person you quote mindread?


  1. Reaction to the UF Hillel Menorah Vandalization « New Voices - December 9, 2010

    […] some may have read recently on the New Voices blog, UF Hillel’s menorah was uprooted from the ground and vandalized on site […]

  2. How to pick out a Halloween costume that won’t get you punched in the face - October 26, 2014

    […] There’s something to be said for using humor to deal with trauma, but if you’re dressing as a “Burning Tower” for Halloween, are you really helping remember the fallen, or are you suggesting that the 2,998 deaths are less important than your right to act like a jerk for one special evening? In the same vein, the Holocaust might not seem like a pressing issue to a non-Jewish 20-something whose only education on Nazi work camps was Anne Frank and The Reader, but the legacies of anti-Semitism are very real, even almost 80 years later. Your Hitler costume might not seem that clever to the campus Hillels that get routinely vandalized. […]

WordPress Backup
Read previous post:
With the Maccabeats in the Millions, Who Are the Other Movers and Shakers in Jewish Hip-Hop?

In honor of the approaching New Year, let’s sum up the accomplishments of some of the biggest Jewish artists in...