Some of Chabad's publicly placed menorahs have become a target for vandalism and theft.
A 6-foot menorah in front of the Chabad Lubavitch of Utah was vandalized early Sunday morning, according to reports. Three branches of the menorah were ripped off the left side and dropped in front of the Chabad House in Salt Lake City.
The center has been at its current location since 2005 and erected a menorah every year. It is the first time the menorah has been vandalized.
Rabbi Benny Zippel, executive director of the Chabad Lubavitch of Utah, said he believes the desecration was vandalism and not connected to anti-Semitism. He said he would press charges if the vandals were caught, however.
Meanwhile, a 9-foot menorah stolen Saturday night from the front of the Chabad of Northwest Indiana in Munster, Ind., was recovered the following day. It had been dumped in a backyard about a half-mile away.
The incidents were not restricted to the United States, though, as four menorahs throughout the Hungarian capital of Budapest were vandalized over the weekend, Hungary's Club Radio reported. Three vandals of the public menorahs reportedly turned themselves in, while police continued searching for a fourth vandal in the attacks which were captured on public surveillance cameras.
The Hungarian daily newspaper Nepszabadsag reported Monday that the attacks – by vandals who were described as young people – appeared to have been "preplanned and premeditated."
Chabad erected the four menorahs, which were placed at busy intersections throughout the city. The largest, at about 20 feet high, was erected downtown, according to Chabad, and the others are about 10 feet high.
Chabad has erected public menorahs in Budapest every Chanukah since the fall of communism in 1989. It was the first time that a public menorah has been damaged.