SEATTLE - Jewish communities gathered around the country and locally to mark the first day of Hanukkah. In west Seattle, the holiday was also a day to rally against hate crimes targeting the Jewish community.
At the Hoffman household, the first day of Hanukkah is marked by lighting the first candle on the menorah, and as the flame burns, Ari Hoffman reflects on recent events targeting the Jewish community locally and nationally.
“It’s always there, the synagogues here have been hit with swastikas before. It’s not more from my perspective, it just has attention now so we’re having the conversation,” said Ari Hoffman.
The latest report by the FBI shows hate crimes motivated by religious bias accounted for 1,679 offences reported by law enforcement and a further breakdown reveals anti-Jewish hate crimes topped the list at 58%.
In west Seattle, where the neighborhood was hit by anti-Semitic graffiti last week, the community gathered to show hate is not welcome here.
“Our mission is to say that love and support of all of our neighbor’s trumps hate and divisiveness,” said Rachael Glass, co-founder of Hate Free Delridge.
Hoffman was among the dozens who attended the rally Sunday afternoon. He says rallied do help fight hate and more importantly show children like his, they are not alone.
“Sometimes it feels very lonely and isolating but knowing that there are people out there who are standing with us, coming out as a community, that’s just a beautiful thing,” said Hoffman.
As his family marks the first night of Hanukkah celebrations, Hoffman says seeing people stand in solidarity with them on this holiday, is extra special.
“This is what it’s about, spreading the knowledge of what Judaism is, spreading the light of the Torah and that’s beautiful thing that it can coincide with Hanukkah is the most perfect, perfect combination,” said Hoffman.