Mezuzah stolen from office doorway of Jewish student body prez

Toni Airaksinen
Columnist at PJ Media

  • UCLA's student body president revealed this week that she was the victim of apparent anti-Semitic vandalism.
  • Upon returning to campus Monday, Arielle Yael Mokhtarzadeh discovered that vandals had removed her mezuzah, an ornament used to mark the doorposts of Jewish homes, from the doorway of her office.
  • Mokhtarzadeh claimed that her predecessor was subjected to the same experience just last year, but vowed that she would not be intimidated into hiding her Jewish identity.
  • Images via Facebook

    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.

    "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."   

    [RELATED: Campus anti-semitism exploded in 2016]

    “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.”

    [RELATED: Jewish student forced into hiding by mob of Muslim protesters]

    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





    Toni Airaksinen

    Toni Airaksinen

    Columnist at PJ Media
    Toni Airaksinen is Columnist at PJ Media and a Consultant at Youth Radio. She was previously a New Jersey Campus Correspondent, reporting on liberal bias and abuse for Campus Reform with a focus on Title IX, the OCR, and the First Amendment. During college, she also was a columnist for Quillette and The Columbia Spectator. Her exclusives have been featured on FOX News and The Drudge Report. She graduated from Barnard College in 2018.
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