The car belonging to the rabbi at Chabad at Santa Monica College (SMC) was defaced with a swastika and other antisemitic sentiments.
Last Thursday, Rabbi Eli M. Levitansky’s car was vandalised with the Nazi symbol as well as a Star of David next to the words “is illegal”. Rabbi Levitansky spoke of how the vandalism was “a shock” and that “it obviously was a targeted crime” as his was the only car that was defaced.
In response to the vandalism, Rabbi Levitansky took to the Chabad’s Facebook page to encourage people to carry out a mitzvah (a good deed stemming from religious observance). “The idea was really to give this message that, in such an event, the best response is to combat it with action and with positivity,” Levitansky said, adding: “People have written that they will be lighting Shabbat candles because of this, or they will be doing charity because of this, things of that nature. That is very, very heartwarming to see…it’s not just an outpouring of support, which is nice to see, but it’s an outpouring with the next step, with action taken.”
Michael Tuitasi, Vice President of Student Affairs, said that he was “sickened” by the “horrible, hateful incident”, calling Rabbi Levitansky “a great mentor to the Jewish students at Santa Monica College and whom I consider an integral part of the extended college community.” “While the incident did not occur at the college, it is felt by our community and strongly condemned.”
Mr Tuitasi also said that SMC is creating “a space for students who may have been impacted by this incident” and urged students to contact the SMC Center for Wellness and & Wellbeing.
“At Santa Monica College, there is no room for hate. SMC stands firmly against antisemitism just as the college stands against all forms of discrimination and hate. While we cannot control hateful actions that take place away from Santa Monica College, this college is dedicated to creating a safe environment for all our students, and denounces hate speech or actions,” Mr Tuitasi said. He went on to call Rabbi Levitansky’s response to the vandalism “inspiring.” “Instead of letting this act of darkness take him away from efforts to do good during the Jewish holidays, he has redoubled his efforts to help the community come together and spread light.”
In July, a swastika was found spray-painted onto the pavement next to a car belonging to the Jewish son of Holocaust survivors.
Image credit: StopAntisemitism.org