What Happened to This Family During Hanukkah Is So Sad

December 31st 2016

Willie Burnley Jr.

When Naomi and Seth Ellis decided to build a large menorah in their front lawn so that their three children could participate in the holiday season, they did not expect what would happen next.

After they went to sleep on the sixth night of Hanukkah, the Arizona family’s menorah was vandalized and distorted into a swastika, the same symbol that Nazis wore when carrying out Hitler’s genocidal Holocaust. The children reportedly knew what the Holocaust was, but had never seen a swastika. Speaking to The Washington Post, Naomi Ellis said she had to explain the controversy to her children ages 9, 7, and 5.

“We talk a lot about the importance of equality and tolerance, loving everybody no matter what. I had to tell them that not everybody feels that way. Some people are ignorant, and this is what they do...This is the real reality that we live in: People hate us for no reason or want us to feel scared for who we are. That’s not something I wanted to have to tell them."

Unfortunately, sightings of hate like this have been on the rise.

100 anti-Semitic hate incidents were recorded in the wake of President-elect Donald Trump’s victory according to a report released ten days after the election by the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), a civil rights organization that monitors hate groups. The increase represented 12 percent of the 867 acts of intimidation reported, including 80 acts of graffiti or vandalism depicting the swastika without specific reference to Jewish people.

Many people have pointed out that white nationalist groups, including neo-Nazis, were effectively empowered by the rhetoric and actions (including retweets) of President-elect Donald Trump during the election.

A spokesperson from the Chandler Police Department said that the department is investigating the situation, according to a local ABC affiliate, after an officer responded to the Ellis’s call at about 5:30 am and helped them take down the swastika. However, the Chandler Police Department has yet to put out an official press release regarding the incident.

For their part, the family is erecting a new menorah in their front lawn. Seth Ellis told ABC that he would do so as many times as it took.

“What kind of statement is it for me not to put it back up, especially for my kids?" he asked.