Vandal mangles Vail Village menorah
VAIL – One or more vandals put an extra chill into the week for Daphne Blinn.Sometime during the overnight hours between Wednesday and Thursday, an unknown number of vandals seriously damaged a large menorah owned by the town of Vail. The traditional Hanukkah symbol stood next to the town’s main Christmas tree in Slifer Plaza, between the Vail Village Transportation Center and the Covered Bridge.”We have such a wonderful religious model in Vail,” said President Carol Reichman-Cook, president of B’Nail Vail, the local Jewish congregation. “Nobody needs this kind of behavior.” Reichman-Cook said she was upset when she heard the news. Although the incident appears to be an isolated act of vandalism, “It was a desecration of a religious symbol,” she said.Blinn, the secretary for B’Nai Vail, also said she was shaken by the incident.
“Somebody really tried to destroy it,” Blinn said. “You can’t ignore that.”Police received the report early Thursday morning. Shortly after, town electrician Leo Vasquez took the Menorah back to the town shops for repair, where it remained Thursday. “It was bent at about a 90 degree angle near the base,” Vasquez said. “It was bent sideways and some of the bulb holders were bent.”The menorah went into the town shop for welding and electrical work. Vasquez said it will be put back out by the Christmas tree Saturday, in time for the annual tree-lighting ceremony.The motives of the vandals are unclear. But Vail police believe the vandalism was an isolated incident, rather than part of anything more sinister, because they found no anti-Semitic slogans or symbols and no similar vandalisms have been reported. “It appears that way right now,” Vail Police Officer Christine Casey said. “There haven’t been any other reports of any other menorahs being damaged.”
The B’Nai Vail congregation worships at the Vail Interfaith Chapel. The congregation has an outstanding relationship with Christians who also use the chapel, Blinn said. That may be why the menorah vandalism was so jarring.”I went to the police department this morning and found out they had already filed a report,” Blinn said. “But I found my voice shaking.”===============What’s a menorah?A menorah is a symbol of the eternal flame that burned in the ancient Jewish Temple after it was destroyed by Syrian invaders. When the Jews were cleaning up the Temple, they found oil they thought would burn for only one day, but burned for eight. The menorah, therefore, holds nine candles and is lit each night during Hanukkah, which falls in December. Also, all Jewish synagogues have a symbolic eternal flame.
Hanukkah commemorates the victory of a Jewish army called the Macabees over Syrian invaders. Staff Writer Scott N. Miller can be reached at 949-0555, ext. 613, or firstname.lastname@example.org.Vail Daily, Vail Colorado