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Oakland, California relights menorah after alleged antisemitic vandalism

Hundreds of people gathered Wednesday to relight a replacement menorah after the first one was vandalized and its pieces dismantled and strewn about, prompting the Oakland Police Department to launch a hate crime investigation earlier in the day.

Police said in an email that the vandalism occurred by Lake Merritt just before 1:30 a.m. Wednesday. They provided no other details. Images showed only remnants of the tall menorah, with pieces scattered on a path around the lake and in the water. Hate speech was sprayed on nearby concrete.


The vandalism comes as Jewish people celebrate Hanukkah, and tensions are high over the ongoing war between Hamas and Israel in Gaza. The menorah is a symbol of light used through the eight-day holiday.

Oakland Mayor Sheng Thao quickly condemned the vandalism as a vile act of antisemitism, as did Jewish and Palestinian American organizations calling for a cease-fire in Gaza.

“As Jews who support Palestinian liberation, we stand united with all progressive communities in opposition to antisemitism and in our commitment to a free Palestine,” said the Bay Area chapter of Jewish Voice for Peace in a statement.

The Arab Resource and Organizing Center, which has led protests and rallies in San Francisco on behalf of Palestinians, said on social media platform X that members were “deeply saddened and dismayed” by the vandalism.

A steady stream of vehicles bearing smaller menorahs traveled Wednesday night to the site of the desecration, where a large new menorah was lit.

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