Jewish symbol on Michigan State University student’s door vandalized

“Your opinions and beliefs should not affect others and you should not be causing hateful acts of violence.”
Published: Dec. 5, 2022 at 10:16 PM EST
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EAST LANSING, Mich. (WILX) - The Jewish community at Michigan State University raised concerns after a Jewish symbol hanging on a student’s door was vandalized.

The incident comes at a time when antisemitic hate crimes are on the rise across the country. In the first week of December, the headlines have been full of high-profile celebrities and athletes spewing antisemitic thoughts.

A student at Michigan State University is speaking out after her own property was vandalized.

When freshman Adina Peysakhov returns home from class, she’s welcomed by a scribe on her doorpost. It’s called a mezuzah and it’s a form of protection.

“It’s meant to be on the doorpost of every Jewish house,” Peysakhov said. “You kiss it every time you leave and every time you come back and it’s just meant to keep the home safe and guard the home when you’re in and when you’re out.”

Two weeks ago, Peysakhov was in her dorm when she heard a loud smack against her doorpost. Her mezuzah had been ripped off.

“I could tell that it was very intentional because of how loud it was when it was smacked off and how far it was on the ground from my doorpost,” Peysakhov said. “The whole situation, it was very hard and upsetting.”

Officials from the Chabad Student Center at MSU said they don’t think it was an accident.

“The Mezuzah is actually meant to be touched every time you go in and out of the house, so the tape - the double-sided tape - of the Mezuzah is quite strong,” said Rabbi Benzion Shemtov. “It’s not easy to fall down.”

Peysakhov was told the building does not have cameras in the hall where her dorm is. As antisemitic crimes rise across the country, Shemtov said Peysakhov is keeping her head up.

“And standing tall and standing strong to sheer the light of her faith,” Shemtov said.

MSU Chabad Rabbi Bentzion Shemtov said he helped the student put up a new mezuzah to replace the one torn down. You can get your own mezuzah by reaching out to Shemtov here.

“I’m very proud of my Jewish identity,” Peysakhov said. “This will not scare or stop me from participating in my beliefs.”

The Michigan State University Division of Student Life and Engagement said they stand against antisemitism and hate in all forms and that they follow up on all instances of reported discrimination and harassment.

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