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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. — At the Chabad of Huntsville’s annual lighting of the Bridge Street menorah for Hanukkah, Rabbi Moshe Cohen made it clear that thefts and vandalism that struck the community over the last 19 months haven’t deterred them.

“We’re not going to take these incidents to hide from anything,” Cohen said. “We’re actually going to be doing more to show how proud the Jewish community is.”

In fact, Cohen said he’s thankful for the effects of the most recent theft of a menorah from a synagogue.

“Because you stole our menorah, because you stole the menorah of the Jewish community, we are now doubling down our efforts in order to spread the message of the menorah further throughout north Alabama,” he told News 19. “More than any other year than we ever did.”

“So in a way, thank you for taking the menorah, because you just made us do more than what we’ve ever done before,” Cohen continued.

But amid the singing, the praying, and the joy of the Jewish winter holiday’s ceremony at the shopping center, there remains unfinished justice, he said, after vandals left hateful messages and damages back in early 2020.

Then on November 16 a nine-foot tall menorah was stolen. There have yet to be charges filed for any of the crimes, despite the FBI raising a reward for information leading to an arrest of the original case.

“They have footage [of the recent theft],” Cohen said. “They’re reviewing the footage. And they’re doing everything they can to see who is the ones who actually stole it.”