Menorah in New Jersey toppled in possible bias-crime incident: officials

Authorities in New Jersey are offering a reward for information after a menorah was toppled last week during Hanukkah, the Jewish Festival of Lights.

The Morris County Sheriff's Office said in a news release the possible criminal mischief incident happened in the borough of Mendham on Friday, when the menorah was "upended" and sustained damage to five light bulbs.

The menorah was located at the Mendham Borough Park, a little over 30 miles west of New York City.

Mendham Borough Mayor Christine Serrano Glassner said in a statement on the town's website the menorah was a "dedication to the inclusive spirit of our two towns."

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"Any act of vandalism directed at any religion, race, gender or age should never be tolerated in our towns," Serrano Glassner said. "This incident is being investigated by our Police Department in cooperation with the Sheriff’s Department, and all appropriate protocols will be followed."

The menorah was located at the Mendham Borough Park on Park Avenue in Mendham, N.J. and knocked over sometime on Thursday night or Friday morning, according to officials.

The menorah was located at the Mendham Borough Park on Park Avenue in Mendham, N.J. and knocked over sometime on Thursday night or Friday morning, according to officials. (Morris County Sheriff's Office)

Mendham Township Committeewoman Amalia Duarte called the incident a "horrible act" on Facebook. She said that after the menorah was knocked down it was righted, had its shattered lightbulbs replaced, and been lit every night since. Monday night was the final night of Hanukkah.

"Sadly, disgusting crimes like this are on the rise in our area and across the country," she wrote, adding. "As we begin a new year, let's stand with our friends and neighbors and show that hate has no home in the Mendhams or in any other community."

The greater New York City area has seen a spike in anti-Semitic attacks over the last month. In New Jersey, a "targeted attack" in December on a Jewish kosher deli in Jersey City and resulting shootout left six people dead, including the shooters, three bystanders, and New Jersey Police Detective Joseph Seals.

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Another incident over Hanukkah was reported in New Jersey when graffiti was found outside a synagogue in Highland Park, NJ.com reported.

Over the weekend, five people were stabbed Saturday night in Monsey, a suburb north of New York City, during a Hanukkah celebration. The attack came after eight anti-Semitic incidents took place in Brooklyn in December.

A spokesperson for the Morris County Prosecutor’s Office told NJ.com the incident in Mendham is investigated by the department’s bias crime unit.

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The Morris County Sheriff's Office said that anyone with information is asked to contact the department at 973-COP-CALL.

A reward of up to $1,000 is being offered for information about the menorah incident.

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