Cambridge, Mass. – A large menorah was toppled in a public park near Harvard University just before the start of the first night of Hanukkah.
A white male dressed in black was seen riding his black bike up to the menorah in Cambridge Common and pushing it over on Sunday afternoon, according to two witnesses, the city’s police department reported. He then rode away.
“We’re looking into the possibility of it being a hate crime,” police spokesman Jeremy Warnick told the Boston Globe.
In a video recorded by a passer-by immediately after the menorah was toppled, a group of people walking through the Cambridge Common was seen lifting the menorah back into place. The video has been viewed more than 9,400 times.
The menorah is sponsored by Chabad at Harvard with permission of the city of Cambridge, according to Rabbi Hirschy Zarchi, the college Chabad’s director. His organization has sponsored the public menorah for some 19 years, he told JTA.
The menorah has been vandalized before, Zarchi said, but the last time was about a decade or more ago.
Cambridge Mayor Marc McGovern called such vandalism an act of hatred.
“Cambridge stands in opposition to such animus and remains vigilant to the slightest offense,” he tweeted Sunday.