PROSPECT HEIGHTS — Two menorahs set up in public playgrounds have been vandalized in Brooklyn, the rabbi responsible for the Hanukkah lights said.
Rabbi Mendy Hecht of Chabad of Prospect Heights, a Lubavitch synagogue and community center, told DNAinfo New York he went to put new candles in the two menorahs Tuesday morning to find them both gone.
Upon investigation, he was told Parks Department employees had temporarily removed the two menorahs after they were found “tampered with,” he said. One, set up at Underhill Playground in Prospect Heights, had been turned askew and slanted from its base, Hecht said. The other, positioned in Park Slope Playground on Lincoln Place between Fifth and Sixth avenues, had an arm broken off and its wiring ripped out and cut, he said.
Hecht has been placing menorahs in Prospect Heights for years — in fact, his family is responsible for the 33-and-a-half-foot menorah placed every year in Grand Army Plaza. He said he’s occasionally had issues with kids playing on or near the religious structure, but has never witnessed vandalism “to such an extent.”
“Taken out of its place, torn apart, broken. … That’s something more than I’ve ever experienced,” he said.
The Parks Department confirmed both menorahs were damaged and said the agency is working with the NYPD to monitor the situation.
Hecht is planning a menorah lighting at the Park Slope Playground at 5 p.m. Wednesday evening with hot latkes and gifts for children.
Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams is planning to attend the event, his office said, to “denounce acts of hate attempting to disrupt the holiday season in Brooklyn.”