Hollis Hills menorah on Union Turnpike is vandalized
by Andrew Shilling
Dec 29, 2014 | 6847 views | 0 0 comments | 104 104 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Rabbi Yerachmiel Zalmanov of the Chabad House of Eastern Queens bolted the electric menorah back onto the Union Turnpike-facing tree in Hollis Hills after vandals smashed out the lights and threw it to the ground at the start of Chanukah on December 15.

In a time of what would have been filled with celebration, residents and officials of the northeastern Queens neighborhood instead came together to open an investigation into those responsible for vandalizing their beloved candelabrum for a second time on December 21, shattering its bulbs yet again.

“My message to whoever did it, and to the world, is just one thing, in order to defeat evil is to increase in acts of goodness and kindness,” Zalmanov said. “Light usually defeats darkness.”

Chabad House has lit their menorah every year at the Hollis Civic Association holiday display alongside a Christmas tree at Union Turnpike and 220th Street.

After discussion with the local precinct, who put their Hate Crimes Task Force on the case after it was vandalized a second time, Zalmanov said he has faith that justice will be served.

“We will defeat this evil once and for all,” he said. “There will be peace in this community and peace in this city again.”

Community Affairs Officer John Erdman of the 111th Precinct assured everything in the NYPD's power would go to finding out what happened, however he could not provide any details during the ongoing investigation.

“I will assure you that we have stepped up our direct patrols in this location and it will be continued around the clock at multiple times of the day,” Erdman said.

State Senator Tony Avella stood in solidarity with Congresswoman Grace Meng and Assemblyman David Weprin at the site of the menorah, and each helped relight the structure for a third time last week.

“This is not representative of this community at all,” Avella said. “It is important for us to say that anytime there is an act of hate, which obviously this is a bias attack on the Jewish faith, it is unacceptable and especially during Chanukah.”

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