(lubavitch.com) Jewish students of Northwestern University in Evanston, IL, woke up Sunday morning to find that the electric menorah in front of the Tannenbaum Chabad House had been vandalized. The menorah had its wires ripped out, the bulbs removed and one of its branches broken off. Police believe the vandalism took place Saturday night between 7:30 and 10:15 pm. A suspect has not yet been named.
According to Rabbi Dov Hillel Klein, director of the Tannenbaum Chabad House and Chabad Lubavitch representative to Northwestern since 1985, the event shocked everyone. In his 25 years at Northwestern, Klein claims he has never experienced an anti-semitic act on this scale before.
“That someone would wantonly destroy the property of a Jewish institution, let a symbol of its faith, is utterly appaling,” Klein says.
He makes note, however, that the incident is “isolated in nature,” with little precedent of anti-semitism on campus.
Students responded to the vandalism with similar distress.
“I was very upset when I heard what happened, ” says junior and Chabad student board-member Camila Benaim. “That someone could destroy the menorah makes me feel violated.”
A panel led by university faculty, planned by Rabbi Klein and the lcoal police this Tuesday night, will discuss the importance of diversity and respect.
Klein is optimistic that the open discussion of the forum will help prevent future incidents from happening. Looking to the message of the menorah itself for inspiration, he concludes that “the very object that was defaced” teaches a message of hope – even “a little light can dispel a lot of darkness.”