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Rabbi: Harvard tells Jews to ‘hide’ menorah nights during Hanukkah
Harvard Chabad Rabbi Hirschy Zarchi

‘Jew hate and antisemitism is thriving on this campus’

Harvard told Jewish leaders to pack up their menorah every night during Hanukkah, fearing the display could be vandalized and the crime would make the school look bad, a Jewish chaplain at the university said last week.

Rabbi Hirschy Zarchi, who leads the Jewish student organization Harvard Chabad, spoke about issues with the display Dec. 13 as the sun set behind the menorah, according to a YouTube video of his speech.

“On our campus in the shadow of Widener Library, we in the Jewish community are instructed, ‘We’ll let you have the menorah, you made your point, OK. Pack it up. Don’t leave it out overnight because there will be criminal activity, we fear, and it won’t look good,’” Zarchi said.

“It pains me to have to say sadly, that Jew hate and antisemitism is thriving on this campus,” he said.

On other campuses, Jewish students and leaders have said much the same after seeing a swastika and hearing calls of “intifada” during Hanukkah this year, which took place Dec. 7 to 15.

At Harvard, Zarchi said the Jewish community gathered every night to light the menorah. And every night, he said they had to take down the display because of university leaders’ fears about vandalism.

The rabbi said he longs for the day when Harvard “not only has our back, not only allows us to put up a menorah but doesn’t force us to hide it at night.” And when university leaders hear “hateful calls to the death of Jews, you don’t walk by and say nothing, you speak,” Zarchi said.

He said a Jewish student recently shared how he looks in the mirror every morning before leaving home to make sure nothing gives away the fact that he is a Jew.

“That’s the reality of the Jewish community at Harvard today,” Zarchi said. “We have to pack up the menorah when we’re done. Some students feel they have to remove anything about their physical appearance that suggests they’re a target.”

“You know when change is going to happen on this campus? When we don’t have to pack up the menorah,” he added.

Still, Zarchi said the nightly gatherings around the menorah gave him hope because Jews still believe in coming together to celebrate and work for a better tomorrow.

“The menorah stands as a symbol and a message of triumph, of freedom over oppression, of spirit over matter, and of light over darkness,” he said.

In a similar incident, New York University administrators were accused of denying Jewish students “their annual Hanukkah lighting on Kimmel steps” last week, according to a flier circulating on campus, the New York Post reported.

However, a spokesperson told the New York Post that the university recently began prohibiting all events at the location, not just the religious celebration.

Since the Oct. 7 Hamas terrorist attack on Israel, Jewish faculty and students have reported a huge rise in antisemitism on U.S. campuses, including messages that “Hitler was right,” “gas the Jews,” and “Holocaust 2.0,” The College Fix reported.

MORE: Poll: Twenty percent of college-aged Americans say the Holocaust is a myth

IMAGE: Harvard Chabad/YouTube screenshot

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About the Author
Micaiah Bilger is an assistant editor at The College Fix.