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Cops: 2 LI menorahs damaged this weekend

Two more menorahs, one in Ronkonkoma and one in Setauket, were damaged by vandals over the weekend, just as the festival of Hanukkah got under way, Suffolk police said.

The vandalism marks the third attack on menorahs in Suffolk County this month. On Dec. 4, vandals in Holbrook were videotaped wrestling an 11-foot aluminum menorah on Main Street to the ground.

Rabbi Steven Moss, who heads the Suffolk County Human Rights Commission, said the community, both Jews and non-Jews, has become alarmed by the desecrations.

"It really is beyond my comprehension as to why anyone, whether a younger person or an older person, would spend the time and energy to commit such cowardly and disrespectful acts," Moss said.

In this weekend's attacks, the Ronkonkoma Chamber of Commerce told police that a menorah at the entrance to Raynor Beach County Park was damaged Saturday between 8:30 a.m. and 2:30 p.m.

The menorah's base had been broken and left lying on the ground, police said.

Another menorah, located at the intersection of Main Street and Old Field Road in Setauket, went missing sometime between Friday and Saturday morning, police said.

Chabad of Stony Brook searched the area and found the damaged menorah at the bottom of adjacent Setauket Mill Pond.

Moss, 61, who leads B'nai Israel Reform Temple in Oakdale, said the Jewish community would seek to enlist its Christian and Muslim neighbors to send a message that such acts can't be tolerated.

He hopes to develop a plan for Hanukkah next year with police to prevent future menorah desecrations.

In a statement, County Executive Steve Levy said, "We deplore these acts against the Jewish faith during this holy season."

Anyone with information is asked to call the Hate Crimes Unit at 631-852-6323 or Crime Stoppers at 800-220-TIPS.

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