Menorahs lit across Long Island amid uptick in antisemitic hate crimes
Menorahs were lit in public ceremonies on the first night of Hanukkah, as police in both Nassau and Suffolk counties record increases in antisemitic hate crimes.
Since the Israel-Hamas war began on Oct. 7, Nassau County has seen 19 antisemitic incidents. There were five during the same time period last year.
In Suffolk, there have been 15 antisemitic crimes since Oct. 7, compared to eight last year.
Jewish leaders say some in their community are hesitant to display their faith. They urge their followers to proudly display menorahs during the holiday, so light can once again win over darkness.
Rabbi Yakov Saacks, at the Dix Hills Chai Center, says, “It makes sense to be afraid. The reaction, however, has to be one of pride. As Jews we know our history. Hiding, historically, has not helped us. Hiding is part of psychological warfare. It’s not the right thing to do. We have to hold our heads up high.”
Police in Nassau and Suffolk counties say patrols are being increased around synagogues during the eight nights of Hanukkah.