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Menorah-smashing teens spared jail, ordered to watch ‘Schindler’s List’

June 7, 1997

DOYLESTOWN, Pa. (AP) _ Three teen-age vandals who smashed a Jewish family’s menorah were sentenced to watch ``Schindler’s List″ and write an essay on anti-Semitism rather than go to jail.

The crime in December prompted the victims’ mostly Christian neighbors to display a menorah in nearly every window on the block in solidarity.

Bucks County Judge Kenneth G. Biehn also sentenced the teens Friday to community service and two years of probation for breaking Martin Markovitz’s living room window on the third night of Hanukkah, and knocking over the family’s electric menorah.

In the essay, the offenders will have to describe how the victims might have felt after the incident in Newtown Township, about 20 miles northeast of Philadelphia. They also must send written apologies to the family.

``I want you to be constantly reminded of what effects your actions may have had,″ Biehn told Richard Daniel Hudson, 18, the only defendant tried as an adult.

The three were convicted of criminal mischief and night prowling. Hudson was acquitted of ethnic-intimidation charges, the jury ruling he wasn’t motivated by anti-Semitism.

But even if anti-Semitism was not the motivation, the crime had the same effect, Biehn said.

``It frightened a lot of people,″ said Rabbi Elliot Strom of Shir Ami Congregation in Newtown. ``We sort of had our naivete taken away.″

The teens may perform their community service at Shir Ami or either of two organizations that build homes for low-income families _ Habitat for Humanity or the Interfaith Housing Development Corp.

Hudson, ordered to do 250 hours of community service, already has started volunteering at Shir Ami, said his lawyer, John Kerrigan. He has been cleaning the grounds before Friday night services and mowing the lawn.

``I hurt people,″ Hudson told the judge. ``Now I want to do something to make up for it.″

The other two, both 17 at the time of the crime, must perform 150 hours of community service and attend 10 leadership-training weekends for juvenile offenders.

``Schindler’s List″ is Steven Spielberg’s Academy Award-winning movie about the Holocaust.

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