With antisemitism rampant in America amid the Middle East war between Israel and Hamas, a terrorist organization, a Jewish student group at Harvard was recently instructed to hide its menorah in celebration of Hanukkah amid fears that potential vandalism would cast a dark image on the university.
— New York Post (@nypost) December 15, 2023
Such an order comes after a flier claimed that school administrators at New York University (NYU) “denied [students] their annual Hanukkah lighting” on the steps of the student center. The poster reportedly reads, “Antisemitism has no place at NYU.”
Antisemitism has reached unprecedented levels on university campuses across America. Such an alarming issue has garnered the attention of many after three university presidents, including Harvard’s Claudine Gay, refused to say whether calling for Jews to be murdered violated their school’s code of ethics.
Rabbi Hirschy Zarchi, founder and president of Harvard Chabad, said the school asked his group if it could hide the menorah nightly throughout the eight days of Hanukkah.
“On our campus in the shadow of Widener Library, we in the Jewish community are instructed, ‘We’ll let you have the menorah, you made your point, OK. Pack it up. Don’t leave it out overnight because there will be criminal activity, we fear, and it won’t look good,’” Zarchi said during a Hannukah lighting on Dec. 13, 2023.
Zarchi said Harvard’s antisemitism would not change until Jewish students rise and express their Judaism.
“You know when change is gonna happen on this campus? When we don’t have to pack up the menorah,” the rabbi added.
A Harvard student told the New York Post that Jews “don’t necessarily feel safe” at the university.
“That’s the reality of the Jewish community at Harvard today,” Zarchi continued. “We have to pack up our menorah when we’re done. … Some students feel they have to remove anything about their physical appearance that suggests that they’re a target.”
Given Gay’s refusal to condemn calls for the genocide of Jews on her campus, Zarchi said, “We in the Jewish community are looking for the day when we can refer to the president — and all of Harvard — as ours too.”
“That Harvard indeed not only has our back, not only allows us to put up a menorah but doesn’t force us to hide it at night and when they witness hateful calls to the death of Jews, you don’t walk by and say nothing, you speak. You don’t remain silent,” he added.