A menorah lighting at Columbia University on Sunday was a public display of faith for Professor Elizabeth Midlarksy, who's finding strength in community.
"I'm very thankful for, I'm sorry I'm crying, but I'm very thankful they are coming together like this," said Professor Midlarksy.
The holocaust scholar lead the ceremony four days after she found swastikas and an anti-Semitic slur spray painted outside her office at the teacher's college. She’s hoping this gathering sends a clear message to those motivated by hate.
“It's hurtful and unnecessary and that we're not going to fold, we're going to keep going and be strong," Midlarksy said.
The NYPD and State Police Hate Crimes Unit are now investigating the crime, but some are troubled by the number of anti-Semitic incidents both on campus and off.
“There's a concern that there's a little bit of an uptick in the past couple of years," Yonah Blum from Columbia University said.
But organizers of this ceremony say what happened to Professor Midlarsky is a reminder of the importance of the holiday and the strength in standing together.
“Somebody might have had bad thoughts, but it ended up being for a good cause because Hanukkah is a message of light over darkness and freedom over intolerance," Blum added.