Harvard Forces Jewish Student Group To Hide Menorah

Harvard University administrators force a Jewish student group to hide its menorah display at night over fears of vandalism that “won’t look good” for the school, according to a campus rabbi.

Rabbi Hirschy Zarchi, the founder and president of Harvard Chabad, said at a menorah lighting ceremony, “On our campus in the shadow of Widener Library, we in the Jewish community are instructed, ‘We’ll let you have the menorah, you made your point, OK. Pack it up, don’t leave it out overnight because there will be criminal activity we fear and it won’t look good.’”

Amid rising tensions over the Israeli-Hamas war in Gaza, Zarchi said Harvard forces Jews on campus to hide their identity, “That’s the reality of the Jewish community at Harvard today. We have to pack up our menorah when we’re done.” He said, “Some students feel they have to remove anything about their physical appearance that suggests that they’re a target.”

Allegations of antisemitism at Harvard have gained increasing national attention since the war in Israel began on Oct. 7. Earlier in December, Harvard University President Claudine Gay refused to say if calling for genocide against Jews goes against the code of conduct at Harvard. That was while testifying at a congressional hearing on antisemitism.

The presidents of two other Ivy League schools — University of Pennsylvania President Liz Magill and Massachusetts Institute of Technology President Sally Kornbluth — also refused to say calling for genocide against Jews is against the code of conduct for their schools at the House Education and Workforce Committee hearing to prevent antisemitism on campuses.

“It is a context-dependent decision,” a smiling Magill answered. “It is at odds with the value of Harvard, but we embrace a commitment to free expression even of views that are objectionable, offensive, hateful,” Gay responded.

“We in the Jewish community are longing for the day when we can refer to the president — and all of Harvard — as ours too,” Zarchi said. “That Harvard indeed not only has our back, not only allows us to put up a menorah, but doesn’t force us to hide it at night and when they witness hateful calls to the death of Jews, you don’t walk by and say nothing, you speak.”