Chabad House vandalized for a second time, Rabbi Boudjnah will press charges this time

Outside+the+Chabad+House+near+SDSU%27s+campus+a+couple+of+weeks+after+the+vandalism+incident.

Catlan Nguyen

Outside the Chabad House near SDSU’s campus a couple of weeks after the vandalism incident.

by Katelynn Robinson, News Editor

The San Diego State Chabad House was vandalized once again on June 25 around 1:40 a.m. This time, two women ripped a Jewish banner hanging on the side of the House and broke a branch of the Menorah that stands in front of the House.

Rabbi Chalom Boudjnah said this time the act appeared to be anti-Semitic and he will be pressing charges.

Boudjnah described how this act of vandalism felt different than the break in that happened just over a month ago.

“This is a very different case I think, this wasn’t made like a joke, it was more with the intention of destroying something Jewish,” Boudjnah said. 

Boudjnah described the banners they damaged and the Menorah which he said is very difficult to break. He said it was “painful” and “shocking” to see. 

He said the vandals did not break windows or damage the property in any other way. 

Screenshot from surveillance footage shows woman breaking Menorah.
Screenshot from surveillance footage shows woman breaking Menorah. (Courtesy of Rabbi Boudjnah)

“It was specifically and intentionally attacking Jewish symbols on campus,” Boudjnah said. 

Boudjnah said he still thinks there should be a learning component involved with these two women; however, this incident should be taken more seriously.

“This time I will press charges and I will take a different approach than I took last time,” Boudjnah said. “I still think whatever punishment is coming to them, I think there should be an educational component to it so they can realize the gravity of what they’ve done…”

SDSU responded with a university-wide email and an emergency meeting with Boudjnah on the same day as the attack. In the meeting Dr. J. Luke Wood and Boudjnah discussed ways the university can make the Jewish community on campus feel more comfortable. 

According to Boudjnah they also talked about members of SDSU’s Task Force on Addressing Anti-Semitism taking a course in anti-Semitism and having a Jewish-American heritage day on campus. 

“They also said they will make the campus environment more open to Jewish life meaning professors will be made aware of Jewish holidays and will accommodate students who keep those holidays,” Boudjnah said.

Boudjnah said one of the main goals that was discussed was implementing more Jewish faculty members so they can be accessible to students since Chabad House is independently funded and is not included in all of SDSU’s meetings and events. 

Dr. Luke Wood provided a statement for The Daily Aztec. 

“This is an appalling act of anti-Semitism,” said Wood, Vice President for Student Affairs and Campus Diversity and Chief Diversity Officer. “With anti-Semitic assault, harassment and vandalism occurring at higher rates across the nation, these incidents do not push us into the ground; they do the opposite. This event is among a series of events that have occurred in recent months. We remain motivated, will continue to be direct in our support of our Jewish community and will continue elevating the lives and experiences of those within our community. As a university and community, we strongly condemn anti-Semitism and hate.”

Associated Students President of SDSU’s Imperial Valley campus, Carlos Fitch reached out to The Daily Aztec with a letter addressing these recent attacks

And while the Imperial Valley campus may not be home to a large Jewish community, we have experienced the same lack of empathy toward socially disadvantaged communities and we commit to defend all minorities from outrageous events as the ones that happened directly to yours,” Fitch said in the letter. “We want to be clear, we stand with you. To our Jewish siblings, we are disheartened and angered that you all have to face another traumatic and dangerous experience while on campus. Your safety and comfortability to be on campus is important and needs to be addressed with action.”

His full letter can be found here

SDSU released a university-wide email addressing the incident and stating their solidarity with Chabad House and the Jewish community.

“The University Police Department is reviewing video footage and is asking anyone with details to report information to the department by calling 619-594-4636 or emailing policeinvestigations@sdsu.edu. Please reference Case# 21-393,” the email said.

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