A Jewish family from Arizona received a nasty shock over the weekend when a festive menorah they had erected outside their house was vandalized overnight and contorted into a swastika.
In recent days Seth Ellis of Chandler built the menorah out of PVC pipe for his children, who had asked for a holiday display in the garden after seeing Christmas trees around town.
However, on Friday, Seth and his wife Naomi woke up to discover the menorah had been destroyed and bent into the shape of the Nazi symbol.
Naomi called the police, who arrived at the scene in the early morning to help the couple take the swastika down before the children woke up.
“I broke down in tears waiting for the police to come and hoping that my kids would not be awake to see it,” Naomi wrote on Facebook.
“We live in a great neighborhood with kind and welcoming neighbors. We never would have imagined that someone would spread so much hate here,” she said.
“I’m still not sure how I will explain this to [my children],” she said. “I’m not sure I quite understand it myself… How can people be filled with so much hate and violence? To think that someone would make such an effort to hurt and vandalize a family, is downright sickening.”
We were just VICTIMIZED by a HATE CRIMELast night my home was victimized by HATE. Instead of waking up to see our…
ABC News noted that police were investigating the incident, though currently not as a hate crime but as a trespassing incident.
Ellis’s Facebook post quickly received almost 2,000 shares and brought an outpouring of support. On Friday evening members of the community gathered to rebuild and relight the menorah.
“Many of the people we spoke to in the crowd say they felt like they needed to be here tonight,” said ABC News reporter Megan Thompson.
One such supporter, Miriam Schildkert, said: “We can show people — no really, that’s not how you behave.
“We can believe different things, we can look different, but we can still all get along, we can still be friends and… be a community.”