Chanukah celebrations went on as scheduled at Chabad Lubavitch of Utah despite the theft of a large, outdoor menorah just hours before the start of the eight-day festival.

The menorah, which had been placed outside the Chabad House in Salt Lake City, was stolen in the hours between Saturday night and Sunday morning. It was found on Sunday—slightly damaged, but fixable—in front of the nearby Alumni House of Westminster College.

“Having to go around the corner from where Chabad is to reclaim my own menorah made me aware of both of our individual and collective responsibility to reclaim our Jewish identities,” said Rabbi Benny Zippel, co-director of Chabad Lubavitch of Utah with his wife, Sharonne.

Two years ago, a similar incident of vandalism occurred to the same menorah. Local authorities were notified in both instances.

Despite the minor setback, Chabad’s planned Chanukah menorah-lighting celebrations went on as scheduled.

A Show of Support

More than 350 people, including Utah Gov. Gary Herbert, gathered on Sunday night for “A Utah Chanukah Celebration” at the State Capitol. The event featured holiday fare and a musical performance by students at the Chabad-run Chai Hebrew School. Via Facebook, Zippel had encouraged people to attend as a show of support and as an effort to “bring a little more light into a world that so desperately needs it.”

Two years ago, a similar incident of vandalism occurred to the same menorah.
Two years ago, a similar incident of vandalism occurred to the same menorah.

And on Wednesday, another menorah was lit as part of “Jewish Heritage Night” at the Utah Jazz basketball game, which was primarily organized by the rabbi’s son, Chabad Lubavitch of Utah program director Rabbi Avremi Zippel.

This was not the first act of vandalim against a large public menorah set up by a Chabad center this year.

On Monday morning, a menorah in Manhattan’s Carl Schurz Park was found vandalized—not once, but twice over the course of a few days. Local residents turned out for an added communal lighting on the second night of Chanukah, attended by New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio.

For Chanukah information—including locating public menorah-lightings—inspiration, recipes, events for the whole family and more, visit the Chabad.org Chanukah 2015 page here.

Despite the minor setback, Chabad’s planned Chanukah menorah-lighting celebrations went on as scheduled. Here, a different menorah for use as part of “Jewish Heritage Night” at the Utah Jazz basketball game on Wednesday.
Despite the minor setback, Chabad’s planned Chanukah menorah-lighting celebrations went on as scheduled. Here, a different menorah for use as part of “Jewish Heritage Night” at the Utah Jazz basketball game on Wednesday.