Each night of Chanukkah, Plainview's Burton Radish walked out to his outdoor menorah and twisted on another yellow bulb, one for each night that Jews commemorate the ancient miracle known as the 'Festival of Lights."
Even though his menorah lies shattered on the lawn of his Gerhard Road home, its light still shines. Those responsible accomplished nothing. They were beaten Thursday by forces of the light.
And the menorah's light will shine again, Radish vowed Thursday.
His promise was affirmed in one voice by Plainview's , who stood shoulder to-shoulder Thursday with Radish in a public denunciation of the forces of anti-semitism and blind hatred.
"This desecration of a religous symbol under the cover of darkness is a cowardly act," said state Assemblyman , D-Glen Cove. "Any attack on any religion is an attack against every religion. Prejudice is un American and must neither be tolerated nor enabled."
That theme was echoed by public officials and clergy members representing a broad cross-section of the community. One after another, they publicly denounced the human plagues of bias and ignorance at the site of a Chanukkah .
The Muslim community of Long Island..."strongly condemn(s) acts of hatred towards members of all religious and ethnic communities, said Isma H. Chaudhry, vice charwoman of the Islamic Center of Long Island.
" should teach us that we must stand together against vandalism or we will face far worse acts of bigotry and violence," said the Rev. Thomas W. Goodhue, executive director of the Long Island Council of Churches.
The public demonstration was intended as a visible sign of the community's united stand against The community leaders, which included Oyster Bay Councilwoman of Plainview, Plainview-area rabbies , and the Rev., pastor of , and the Rev. of stood around the shattered remains of the outdoor display. The menorah rested in ruins on the Radish family lawn.
"I am disturbed by the fact that in the 21st Century, there are still those who engage in these despicable acts of hate," Monsignor Grazidio said.
Nassau Legislator was unable to attend, but issued this statement: "There is and must be zero tolerance for intolerance and hate," she said.
As for Radish, a retired New York City school administrator, the destruction of his menorah came only weeks after the death of his wife. Yet, Radish vowed to go on. He said a friend who built the first electrified menorah a decade ago out of PVC pipe is working on a new one. Radish said it will be bigger and better than the first.
"And I promise you," Radish said. "There will be a menorah on my lawn next year."
The Chanukkah menorah, a 9-branched candelabrum, has been a symbol of Hebrew faith and perseverance for thousands of years. It commemorates the re-dedication of the Temple after the Maccabean revolt of 166 B.C.E. (B.C.)
The iconic emblem, emblazoned on the coat of arms of the state of Israel, first appears in the Hebrew Bible, or Torah. In Exodus (25:31-40) G-d reveals its design to Moses, saying the lampstand should be made of gold and contain seven branches. Several of these menorahs were used to illuminate the Second Temple before its destruction by the Romans in 70 C.E. (or A.D., Latin for Anno Domini, or, "the year of our Lord.")
Police are continuing to investigate the attack. Lavine said anyone with information about the incident should contact the Nassau County Police hotline at 1-800-244-TIPS.
Editor's Note: The name of G-d is not fully spelled out in this story out of respect for Jewish tradition. Similarly, we are intentionally using abbreviations to describe certain years using both Christian and Jewish traditions. (B.C.E. means "Before Common Era;" B.C. indicates "Before Christ.")