The menorah in front of Alameda City Hall was found smashed on the first day of Hanukkah, Dec. 11, 2020.
The menorah in front of Alameda City Hall was found smashed on the first day of Hanukkah, Dec. 11, 2020.

Alameda City Hall menorah found in pieces on first day of Hanukkah

On the first day of Hanukkah, the public menorah in front of Alameda City Hall was found torn down and smashed.

Next to it, the city’s Christmas tree had had its lights ripped away.

Alameda Police responded to a Friday morning call and found the menorah “had been knocked over and light bulbs broken,” according to Lt. Eric Klaus, public information officer with the Alameda Police Department. “We don’t have any suspects or leads on who is responsible, but currently we’re doing the best we can,” he said.

By early afternoon, the menorah had been repaired and placed back on the plaza outside City Hall.

Rabbi Meir Shmotkin of Chabad of Alameda told J. that the menorah is city owned and operated, and has been for three years. Because of the Covid-19 pandemic, there was no public lighting ceremony this year.

“The menorah is a symbol of hope, liberty and light, and if somebody is looking to destroy that, our response is to increase the light,” Shmotkin said, adding, “Alameda as a whole is a very accepting, very inclusive and tolerant community.”

On its Facebook page, the City of Alameda proclaimed that the East Bay island community has “no tolerance for hate.”

“Chanukah is a time for joy and dedication,” the statement read. “We celebrate to remember that hate does not win when we rise up against oppressors. 2020 has been an incredibly difficult year, but Alamedans are resilient, and we will recover. For most of us, our new Menorah will shine brighter than ever before.”

Alameda Police are asking the public to contact the department with any information on the acts of vandalism at (510) 337-8340.

Dan Pine

Dan Pine is a J. staff writer. He retired as news editor in 2020. Dan can be reached at dan@jweekly.com.