NY firefighter arrested for vandalizing, urinating on Sukkah

Ice menorah in front of Chabad center smashed during Chanukah, while firefighter accused of vandalizing Sukkah arrested.

By Dion J. Pierre, The Algemeiner

A New York City Fire Department (NYFD) firefighter has been arrested for allegedly vandalizing in October a sukkah put up by the Manhattan-based Chabad Israel Center of the Upper East Side.

On Friday, according to PIX 11, 37-year-old Martin Lydon, who also goes by the name Marty Party, was charged with criminal mischief for kicking the sukkah and urinating on it. He was highly intoxicated and off duty during the incident, the outlet added.

The NYFD has suspended him for four weeks, without pay.

“We thank the NYPD for doing a superb job investigating this crime and we are glad it has been resolved. In the spirit of Chanukah we urge everyone to do their part in illuminating the world by doing a good deed today,” Rabbi Uriel Vigler told The Algemeiner on Monday in a statement. “This is the most effective tool we have in our possession. Let’s ignite the world with good deeds.”

In another incident reported by StopAntisemitism, a menorah that Chabad Israel Center had sculpted from ice and mounted on 93rd Street and Second Avenue was destroyed.

“This was definitely a malicious and intentional act. The ice was smashed from both sides,” Rabbi Vigler told the group. “The forces of hatred will never be victorious! Even though we no longer have this ice menorah we still plan to light the 5th tonight and pray that light will win over darkness like it always has for the Jewish people.”

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The vandalism incidents occurred during a massive surge in antisemitic hate crimes in New York City. The New York City Police Department (NYPD) recorded 45 antisemitic hate crimes in November 2022. In November 2021, it recorded 20. According to the data, Jewish New Yorkers were the most targeted group, accounting for 60 percent of all hate crimes that occurred.

Year to year comparisons from the department’s data also show increases in antisemitic hate crimes for every month in 2022 except for April and May. Recently, the NYPD arrested a man suspected of assaulting members of Williamsburg’s Jewish community in two separate attacks.

Earlier month, another man was arrested for allegedly shooting a Jewish man and his seven-year-old son with a BB gun outside a kosher market in Staten Island. He is charged with assault, child endangerment, and committing a hate crime.

In April, the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), reported that more antisemitic incidents are recorded in New York than in any other state, accounting for “an astounding 15 percent of the total reported antisemitic incidents across the country.”