On Friday morning, a Jewish family in Chandler, Arizona woke up to find their 7-foot-tall Hanukkah menorah twisted into a swastika, reported local news station ABC15.
The father, Seth Ellis, had built the menorah for his children after they asked for a public holiday display in place of a Christmas tree. The menorah was made of $100 worth of PVC pipe painted gold and topped with nine solar-powered lights.
The mother, Naomi, called the Chandler police at 5:30am to report the incident.
The police immediately came to help the parents remove the swastika before their children awakened.
Police are currently investigating the incident as a trespassing incident, not a hate crime.
“Just waking up to see that first thing is kind of rattling. It just makes me sad and it makes me feel sick that’s still how people look at the world in 2016,” Seth told an ABC15 reporter. “You have to put it back up. I mean, what kind of statement is it for me not to put it back up, especially for my kids?”
Seth said he would rebuild his menorah “as many times as he has to.”
Naomi wrote on Facebook, “I broke down in tears waiting for the police to come and hoping that my kids would not be awake to see it.
We live in a great neighborhood with kind and welcoming neighbors. We never would have imagined that someone would spread so much hate here.
“I’m still not sure how I will explain this to…. I’m not sure I quite understand it myself… How can people be filled with so much hate and violence? To think that someone would make such an effort to hurt and vandalize a family, is downright sickening,” she said.
Thanks to Naomi’s Facebook post, Chandler community members gathered on her lawn on Friday night, to help the family rebuild and light their menorah.
Though the police are investigating the incident, no arrests have been made yet.