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San Diego rabbi shares Hanukkah wish: An end to anti-Semitism

San Diego County has seen a recent rise in hate directed at the Jewish community.

SAN DIEGO — Sunday marked the start to Hanukkah and the eight-day celebration got underway in San Diego and across the world. But recently there has been a rise in anti-Semitism locally and globally. A San Diego rabbi told News 8’s Steve Price he hopes the holiday will light the way for others to spread peace over hate.  

Recent acts of hate in San Diego have included swastikas on the ground in Kensington, anti-Semitic graffiti on a sign in San Marcos, and, of course, the fatal shooting at Chabad of Poway synagogue. San Diego County has seen a recent rise in hate directed at the Jewish community. 

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But as Jews light candles for Hanukkah to celebrate a centuries-old miracle, Rabbi Yeruchem Eilfort has an illuminating wish for the future. 

"The idea of being able to live in a world where we don't have to feel fear because of our beliefs, don't have to look over our shoulders all the time, and be afraid who hates us because we're different,” Rabbi Eilfort said.  

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Hanukkah lasts eight nights and every evening during the holiday another candle is added to the menorah.  Rabbi Eilfort believes that represents a growing light in humanity - goodness over evil. 

"For every story of negativity that comes out - every single time - we get unbelievable support from our friends and neighbors here,” he said.  

But it's not just happening in San Diego. Across the country, Jews have come under attack. There was a fatal shooting earlier this month at a kosher market in New Jersey and an arson fire at a synagogue in Minnesota in September

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"Is there an uptick right now in anti-Semitism? It would seem that way,” Rabbi Eilfort said.  

Dreidel, a popular game during Hanukkah, seems fitting because at times it feels like the fight against hate has the community spinning in circles. But regardless of how the dreidel lands, Rabbi Eilfort said he knows our community will be the winner. 

"Sometimes, unfortunately, it seems that these negatives are there, but the reaction from the decent people - which is the vast majority - is so overwhelmingly positive and loving and unifying so it washes away the darkness,” he said.  

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