Milwaukee's Jewish community hopes to shine a light on anti-Semitism this Hanukkah

NOW: Milwaukee’s Jewish community hopes to shine a light on anti-Semitism this Hanukkah

MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) -- This Hanukkah, Milwaukee's Jewish community's hoping to shine a light on a dangerous uptick in anti-Semitism.

The Milwaukee Jewish Federation calls this their Hanukkah on the Hoan. If you look straight at the bridge, it looks like an upside-down menorah, but if you look at the reflection in the water, the menorah's right-side up.

"We light up the pillars usually in a blue or yellow," said Allison Hayden, with the Milwaukee Jewish Federation. 
And then they put in the special bulbs that make up the candles, which will be a white light."

"Shine a Light on Anti-Semitism was tied into Hanukkah because it's called the Festival of Lights, and even though it is a joyous time, it is a time in these dark hours, and this dark time of rising hate and anti-Semitism, that we want to shine a light on that," said Hayden.

Prayers were said across town on this second night of Hanukkah for the lighting of this menorah, and can you guess who would have a menorah made up of over 50 tiny basketballs?

"We decided to make a fun menorah in the keeping of the basketball spirit here at Fiserv Forum," said Alex Lasry, Milwaukee Bucks executive.

It's the ninth year the Bucks have had a menorah outside their home court.

"And I was excited, at least this year, that it was actually digital lights rather than actually having to physically light it, because if you have a little bit of rain or moisture it makes it really hard to light the candles outside," Lasry said.

What's harder is hearing hatred against the Jewish community, like when someone painted swastikas over tombstones at a Jewish cemetery in Waukegan, Illinois last month.

"It's been truly terrible and scary, and I think hopefully, we can use this time, and especially this holiday, to show the greatness and the real history of the Jewish people," said Lasry.

"If you don't know somebody, you're more likely to spread and say something hateful or anti-Semitic against them. So, taking this opportunity to really get to know somebody is the best way to combat that," said Hayden.

According to the Milwaukee Jewish Federation, violence against the Jewish community has gone up nearly 460% in the last seven years in Wisconsin, so shining a light is absolutely necessary.

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