HATE: Vandals Turn Jewish Family’s Menorah into a Swastika


When Naomi and Seth Ellis’ young sons said that they wanted lights on their house in Chandler, Ariz., the parents knew what to tell their three Jewish boys: Yes.

One trip to Lowe’s, $100 worth of PVC pipe, nine solar-powered lights and a coat of shiny gold paint later, the Ellises had a shining 7-foot-tall Chanukah menorah on their lawn.

But on Erev Shabbos, the Ellises had something new to tell their boys, and they weren’t sure how to say it.

After the boys went to bed on the sixth night of Chanukah, someone dismantled their special menorah and turned it into a giant swastika.

“We talk a lot about the importance of equality and tolerance, loving everybody no matter what,” Naomi Ellis said. “I had to tell them that not everybody feels that way. Some people are ignorant, and this is what they do.”

She watched tears well up in her 9-year-old son’s eyes as she explained.

“They know about the Holocaust. They know about Nazis,” she said. But before Friday morning, the three children – ages 5, 7 and 9 – had never before seen a swastika, the symbol of the Nazi party that carried out the murder of 6 million Jews and of current-day hate groups.

“This is the real reality that we live in: People hate us for no reason or want us to feel scared for who we are. That’s not something I wanted to have to tell them,” Naomi Ellis said.

Seth Ellis, who works in construction, got up Friday morning at 4 a.m. as usual, and saw that while the family was sleeping, the menorah’s joints had been unscrewed and locked back in place in the spidery directions of a swastika. The vandal or vandals had taken some of the pieces entirely. The Ellises called the police.

Chandler Police Det. Seth Tyler said that officers came to the house and spoke to Naomi Ellis. “She obviously didn’t want her children to see a swastika on their yard,” Tyler said. So the officers helped take the structure down.

The officers reported the vandalism as an incident of disorderly conduct and have not arrested anyone, Tyler said. Naomi Ellis has been urging her neighbors to share anything they might have seen with police.

(c) 2016, The Washington Post · Julie Zauzmer 



  1. Hopefully the family will take this bitter wake-up call and understand that there can be no integration with or imitation of goyim – we are a separate nation with 100% allegiance to Torah our only chance of survival.

  2. Why was this merely reported as disorderly conduct, and noyas a hate crime? Also theft; itsaid theystle some pieces. This should be registered and reported as such. MayHashem watch overall ofKlal Yisroel & keep us all safe!!!

    • According to CHAZAL menorahs are preferably to be lit within tefach of the door on the other side of mezuza, preferably under 10 tfachim, 20 amos or above is disqualified, those that live on second floor can light in a window facing reshus harabim. Nothing about not lightning outside in golus. Shaas hasakona is a real specific danger, not just making the goyim unhappy, and is not directly related to being in golus. There might have been various periods in medieval Europe where lightning outside would be outlawed by goyim or cause accusations of witchcraft or cause some other mortal danger – that is not the case in our particular matzav. Don’t make up your own halachos: we should be lightning outside, under ten tfachim and not gigantic menorahs – exactly as CHAZAL envisioned.

      • There are maamorei chazal that if the goyim will do mischief or cause trouble you should not light outside. That is apparently the opinion of rov klas yisroel that does not light outside nowadays. You don’t need sakonas nefoshos not to do it.

    • Even though I light indoors, someone shot a bullet through the window one year. I don’t think we’re at the point of b’shas sakana, maniac al hashulchan v’dai’o.

  3. No hate crimes charge? Where is Loretta Lynch when you need her? Busy schmoozing with the Clintons?
    Not sure it’s a good idea to put such a large menorah outside of one’s home. It is in the face of the goyim. It’s the same thing with these huge ones that Chabad puts up in public squares. The Mitzavh is for Yidden only. I’m not condoning what happened. I’m just saying, always try to avoid trouble.

  4. The mitzva nowadays is to light inside because of the antipathy of the Goyim. Menorahs should not be lit outside. That’s why the vast majority of Orthodox Jews light somewhere inside their houses.

    bishaas hasakana mainicho al shulchano vedayo


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