On Dec 14th at 9:30am the Islington Menorah on Islington Green was deliberately vandalised. Members of the public attempted to intervene and chased the perpetrator.
Police and Islington Council were quick to come to the scene, as well as MP of Islington South, Emily Thornberry. Once the police forensics team completed fingerprint checks and statements were provided by witnesses, the Council’s lighting department worked on repairing the menorah.
With the leadership of Council Leader, Cllr Kaya Comer-Schwartz a re-lighting of the Menorah was organised for the final night of Chanukah. Emily Thornberry gave out flyers to people walking along the park to join the evening lighting.
With a new menorah installed, as the damaged menorah is still in repair, political and community leaders and members of the public joined the rekindling of the Menorah. Attendees included MP of Islington North, Jeremy Corbyn, and a trustee from Finsbury Park Mosque. Words of support to the Jewish community and intolerance to hate were shared by leader of Islington Council, Cllr Kaya Comer-Schwartz and MP of Islington South, Emily Thornberry.
Event concluded with all attendees singing 'Am Yisrael Chai' the Jewish nation lives on!
Prior to lighting of the menorah, Rabbi Mendy Korer said:
‘Today we stand here, at the place where only 4 days ago we celebrated the Lighting of the Menorah with 700 people from diverse backgrounds coming together with warmth and energy, singing Chanukah songs and dancing to the klezmer beats.
What happened this morning is that one cowardly, misguided person vandalised this menorah. I am happy and grateful to say such a thing is unheard of in the 12 years that the Chanukah menorah has stood in this place.
Yet, this is not the story I'm here to tell you.
It's what happened next.
What happened next is that ordinary people, people we had not known or met before, who happened to have been in Islington Green at the time, stood up when they saw this ugly act in front of them. They chased the perpetrator away. They called the police. And they sent us countless messages reporting what they had just witnessed, expressing compassion and support for the Jewish community.
This year we have spread more light than ever in Islington. Our touring menorah has been to a different location every day, each day illuminating a different part of the borough. It’s been to City University, to Kings Cross, to Archway, to Finsbury Square in the City and, this evening, to Queen Mary University
It's not about what happened to the menorah today that matters as much as what you are going to do about it.
Yes, sadly extremism and hate do exist. But each and every one of us has a menorah light inside us, which we can use to counter-act them. Each and every one of us can use our own light to go to the fringes of society and bring people back to the middle, to spread the message of positivity and tolerance to those around us, in the workplace, in schools, colleges and universities, in our family and social circles, and when we meet and mix with new people. That light can make us act like the brave heroes of this morning who stopped hatred and intolerance in its tracks.
Thank Islington Council, Police for their swift response and for everyone for coming here this evening in person to support with action. And we look forward, with hope, to lighting our chanukiah on Islington Green, for everyone in the borough to enjoy, for many years to come.’
Video of statement at full Islington Council meeting on the same evening:
Should anyone have information of the crime, please call 101 and quote refrence number 2415-1412
We are unsure if the damaged menorah will be fully repaired, if you would like to assist in rebuilding a new menorah or in any other way, please click here.