Police in Oxford, Ohio, are investigating the destruction of a sukkah on the grounds of the Hillel at Miami University during the recent Sukkot holiday.
As seen on security video, three college-age men entered the Hillel center’s grounds around 2 am on Oct. 15. They entered the sukkah and toppled the canvas structure on its side.
“The desecration and vandalization of this ritual item and the damage done to our sukkah is distressing enough. While (thankfully) we have an extra sukkah, what has shaken our students and staff to the core and left me with a pit at the bottom of my stomach is the complete violation of our property, and of our sacred space,” Whitney Fisch, the executive director of Hillel at Miami University, wrote in a letter posted on social media.
“Watching these three young men circle the sukkah, enter the sukkah (where they encountered Hebrew prayers on the walls), and then intentionally decide to destroy the sukkah is simply devastating to watch. There is no other word,” she wrote.
Addressing the students, Fisch wrote, “Our sukkah may be broken. But our spirit is anything but. As upsetting as this incident has been, I feel so uplifted by the wonderful students and staff who have pride in our Jewish community, in our university, and in our Hillel—and no one and no act of vandalism can take that away.”
Hillel plans to hold a “Shabbat of Love & Honor” this Friday night. It is being co-sponsored by Miami University’s Office of Institutional Diversity and Inclusion.
Approximately 1,000 Jewish students attend the university.
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