Mezuzah stolen from office doorway of Jewish student body prez
The student body president at the University of California, Los Angeles returned to campus Monday to find her mezuzah vandalized in an apparent anti-Semitic incident.
Arielle Yael Mokhtarzadeh, a proud descendant of Iranian Jews, went public with the incident Wednesday on Facebook, posting a picture of what remained of the mezuzah and claiming that this is the second incident of its kind at UCLA, her predecessor having endured the same experience just last year.
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“The Mezuzah is a Jewish ornament containing a small, handcrafted scroll with one of Judaism’s most central prayers,” Mokhtarzadeh wrote, explaining that the ornament allows people to show pride in their Jewish identity.
Notably, UCLA was ranked the sixth worst school for Jewish students in 2016 by The Algemeiner, a Jewish news site, which cited “radical anti-Israel events” hosted by Students for Justice in Palestine at UCLA and annual events “demonizing Israel and Jews.”
In her Facebook post, however, Mokhtarzadeh vowed that the incident won’t deter her from publicly embracing her Jewish identity, adding that she plans to replace the stolen mezuzah.
“In my time as USAC President and in my time as a Bruin I have not once succumbed to the pressure to hide my Jewish identity—and I never will. I hope none of us ever will,” she wrote.
She then directly addressed “those who sought to tell me that my identity was not welcomed,” telling the perpetrators that “the fact that you felt the need to vandalize my office under the cover of darkness shows that you and your actions do not represent this community, which has no tolerance for your intolerance.”
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Mokhtarzadeh plans to host a mezuzah re-dedication ceremony next week with the school Rabbi, and invited the campus at large to join her.
Campus Reform reached out to UCLA to ask if it plans to investigate the incident, but did not receive a response in time for publication.
Follow the author of this article on Twitter: @Toni_Airaksinen