Rabbi Dovid Tiechtel said the Chabad Jewish Center at the University of Illinois will rebuild and rededicate a 9-foot outdoor menorah that was knocked down and vandalized early Sunday morning in Champaign.
“Many people have called me to make it stronger and greater and better,” Tiechtel told The News-Gazette on Monday night. “We want to share that we must rededicate ourselves to stand tall and stand proud. We must stand together, as we look forward to rededicate this beacon of light.”
Tiechtel said the vandalism took place at the center, located at 509 S. Fourth St., C, sometime between 2 and 10 a.m.
“We came to our center on Sunday morning and noticed it was knocked down,” Tiechtel said. “Someone snapped the metal to knock it down.
“This is sad. Whether the person who did this was sober or drunk, it is very hurtful.”
He said that Chabad Jewish Center officials notified Champaign and University of Illinois police.
“We are viewing security footage to see who did it,” he said. “We are blessed to have the UI and Champaign police respond to these matters.”
Tiechtel said it is his hope the experience will strengthen the local Jewish community.
“At a time when light is challenged, we give our commitment for strong Jewish life and pride on our campus and all across the world,” he said. “A little bit of light could change the way of a lot of darkness. We must realize how important it is to educate, learn, reach out and come together to ensure that such things do not happen again.”
Tiechtel said an effort has begun to restore and rededicate the menorah.
“Many people have approached me to make it more beautiful and to make it stand even taller,” Tiechtel said.
Persons interested in contributing to the efforts are asked to call 217-355-8672 or email Tiechtel at email@example.com.