Crime

Menorah at Penn State fraternity house reportedly vandalized

Jake Wolf lights the shamash for the first night of Hanukkah celebration outside of Old Main in 2017.
Jake Wolf lights the shamash for the first night of Hanukkah celebration outside of Old Main in 2017. Centre Daily Times, file

The menorah at the Zeta Beta Tau fraternity house was reportedly vandalized this week, according to a statement from Penn State on Saturday.

State College Police Department is investigating.

The incident occurred between 10 p.m. Thursday and 7:30 a.m. Friday. A light on the menorah was broken, and it was scratched, according to police.

There are no suspects at this time, and police are reviewing surveillance footage.

“This vandalism occurred only a month after the deadliest recorded attack of Jews on United States soil,” Penn State said. “We share in the feelings of hurt expressed by many members of our community. Today, and every day, we stand united with our Jewish friends, neighbors and colleagues. There is no place for hate in our community. Such actions violate the values to which we must commit ourselves and one another.”

On Oct. 27, a gunman killed 11 people at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh’s Squirrel Hill neighborhood. According to the Anti-Defamation League, it’s believed to be the deadliest attack on the Jewish community in U.S. history.

A statement from Zeta Beta Tau said the fraternity is “appalled” to hear about the incident.

“Given other recent hate-based incidents across our country, Zeta Beta Tau will double- and triple-down our efforts to root out intolerance and hate,” the statement said. “ZBT is committed to being part of the solution by educating those in need of it to make a safer and more inclusive world for all.

“These types of incidents, regardless of the intent, impact us all, Jewish or non-Jewish, fraternity/sorority members or non-members.”

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As originally scheduled, Zeta Beta Tau fraternity — in partnership with the Interfraternity Council, Hillel and Chabad — will hold a community event at 8 p.m. Sunday at their chapter house, 328 E. Fairmount Ave., lighting the first candles of Hanukkah, the Zeta Beta Tau statement said.

Last year, a large menorah was stolen from in front of Rabbi Hershy Gourarie’s home and found damaged a day later in front of the Sigma Alpha Mu fraternity. Four individuals were charged in connection to the incident.

If you witness an “act of intolerance” on Penn State’s campus, you can report it anonymously using the Penn State Hotline at 800-560-1637 or hotline.psu.edu, the university’s statement said.

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