Ari Ballaban — In Conversation
JCRC Statement on Destruction of Hillel at Miami University’s Sukkah
As always, your JCRC partners with each local college’s administrators and Jewish student organizations to proactively mitigate antisemitism and prevent anti-Jewish incidents. However, we also rely on the community to inform us of issues they encounter. Please be in touch if you see something troubling or need assistance. We are here to support the community and to provide help.
Please read below for the latest update from Whitney Fisch, Executive Director of Hillel at Miami.
First, on behalf of the student leadership, staff, and board of directors of Hillel at Miami, I want to thank all those who have offered support during the unprecedented last couple of days. If I have not yet returned your call, text, or email, I am committed to doing so but in the meantime, know that you have my immense gratitude.
I’m writing to you today to update you on the continuing investigation of the vandalism of our sukkah that took place last Saturday, October 15th. This past Friday night, shortly before Shabbat, three young men admitted to being the three individuals from our security footage who desecrated our sukkah. We cannot offer any more information on the identities or motivation as there are two ongoing investigations taking place both at the University level and with Oxford City Police. However, it’s important to share that due to the outpouring of support and your calls for action, these three individuals stepped forward to claim responsibility. We could not be more grateful for all of you who shared our video or who emailed and/or called to offer help. We also want to share with you the very powerful statement of support written by President Crawford, Dr. Cristina Alcalde, and Interim Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs, Elizabeth Reitz Mullenix that was sent out to the entire Miami University community on Friday afternoon, no doubt also prompting the three individuals to step forward to claim responsibility.
What happens next in terms of the concurrent investigations is not up to anyone at Hillel at Miami. We will continue to work with the University and OPD as is appropriate for any community member. But we will also continue to live our Jewish joy out loud and proudly. Not five minutes after learning that the individuals had decided to step forward, our Hillel community sat down to welcome over 50 students and families for our annual Family Weekend Shabbat dinner and spent the following Sunday afternoon welcoming close to 50 more families and students for our bagel lunch. This is what we do – we’re Jewish and no matter what happens, we will always be here to celebrate our community, our culture, our religion, and as always, our Jewish students.
Love & Honor,
Whitney Fisch, MSW