Police presence increased throughout Long Jewish communities on first day of Hanukkah
Police patrols were stepped up throughout Long Island's Jewish communities on the first night of Hanukkah Sunday as a result of a recent uptick in antisemitic incidents.
The first candle on the menorah was lit amid intensified patrols at synagogues and Jewish centers as the first night of Hanukkah passed.
Members of the Chabad Center for Jewish Life in Merrick celebrated the first night of Hanukkah, known as the festival of lights.
Hanukkah commemorates the Jewish people's miraculous deliverance from those who wished to harm them.
"We're always concerned besides Nassau County police. We also have our own security as well. However, that won't stop us from doing what we're supposed to do and it won't stop us from making community events, and it won't stop us from sharing the light," said the Chabad's Rabbi Shimon Kramer.
There has been a recent increase in antisemitic attacks across the nation and even more so in New York.
New York State leads the nation in antisemitic incidents, with at least 416 reported in 2021, including at least 51 assaults – the highest number ever recorded by the Anti-Defamation League.
Nassau County Police say there are no credible threats in the county, but they are prepared and intensified their patrols.
"It's very important that we make sure that when people come to pray, they feel secure," said Nassau Police Department Commissioner Patrick Ryder.
Less than a month ago, police say Christopher Brown, of Aqueboque, was one of the two people arrested at Penn Station after carrying weapons and planning an attack against the New York Jewish community.
The Chabad said they will continue to celebrate despite the attempted attacks.