Wednesday, August 11, 1999

No deadly anti-Semitic
cases here

By Mary Adamski


"So far, thank God, we haven't had to deal with anything of that sort."

Honolulu Rabbi Itchel Krasnjansky's reaction to the shootings in a Los Angeles Jewish community center would likely characterize the response of Hawaii's small Jewish community.

Krasnjansky is the leader of Chabad of Hawaii, a branch of a New York-based Jewish organization dedicated to education.

One of two recorded anti-Semitic incidents in recent Hawaii history targeted Chabad's public display of the Jewish faith in December 1996.

The group annually celebrates Hanukkah by erecting a menorah, a candelabra traditionally illuminated one candle at a time over the holiday's eight-day duration.

The tall, steel candle-holder was toppled in 1996. An anonymously faxed message containing a drawing and caption, demonstrated that it wasn't just random vandalism. No one was caught.

"That was of a totally different scale than what happened today," Krasnjansky said. He said the Chabad school and other facilities have never been targeted by graffiti, nuisance calls or other harassment.

Police never found a suspect in a December 1990 incident in which swastikas and other anti-Semitic graffiti were painted on headstones at Mililani Memorial Park.

The Hawaii Jewish community numbers an estimated 12,000.

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