On Saturday night, a member of the Chabad of Bluegrass was subject to an Anti-Semitic attack as a passerby driver rammed a car onto the Menorah-lighting ceremony, shouting slurs against the Jewish community. Following the incident, the Chabad center in Lexington, Kentucky, saw increased police presence, which will remain for the rest of Hanukkah.
Amidst horrifying anti-semitic incidents happening in the country, and even all over the world, a shocking series of events took place in Kentucky on Sunday night as Hanukkah celebrations were ongoing. As narrated by the Chabad of Bluegrass Facebook page, people were gathered at the center to prepare for the lighting of a menorah for the third night of Chanukah, as a violent driver pulled up and nearly hit a volunteer camera crew outside the center before dragging and injuring another member of the community.
The center further narrated the incident on its Facebook page, saying, “A community member who was assisting in the lighting heroically stepped between the assailant and the Chabad house as several children were in the front room. The attacker grabbed the man and held his arm, dragging him for a block, and running over his leg. The car then sped off … Before he left for the hospital, the newest hero of Chanukah insisted we light the Menorah, and not allow darkness to quench our light.”
Speaking to WYKT about the heroic act, Rabbi Shlomo Litvin said, “Someone yelled, ‘Call 911,’ and he said, ‘First let’s light the menorah, I’m not going to allow that to stop us from celebrating our faith and spreading the light, which is the very message of Chanukah. Anything can be used for spirituality or negativity. Anything that happens to you, how you react is what that thing is.”
Governor Andy Beshear took to condemning the attack, tweeting, “The anti-Semitic attack reported Saturday night outside of the Jewish Student Center is an outrage. This hate has absolutely no place in the commonwealth as we build a better Kentucky that is fair and equitable for all of our people…That this attack occurred on the third night of Hanukkah, during menorah-lighting celebrations, makes it all the more hateful, hurtful, and cowardly. I ask all Kentuckians to join me in praying for a quick recovery and join me in rejecting hate.”
Lexington Mayor Linda Gorton tweeted, “Racism and religious persecution have no place here. Police have started an investigation into the criminal incident at Chabad of the Bluegrass on Saturday. Those who violated the law will be prosecuted. Let’s join in the spirit of Chanukah, a celebration of good over evil.”
As the investigation is still underway, Lexington Police will be offering more security at the center until the end of Hanukkah, So as to ensure that more such untoward incidents don’t occur. The suspect was described as a man in his mid to late twenties driving a black SUV, Lexington Police Lt. Daniel Truex said Sunday. The victim was taken to a local hospital for treatment Saturday night and was luckily discharged from the hospital and was recovering at home as of Sunday.
Apart from this violent attack, the Chabad of the Bluegrass has also reported vandalism, including to its menorah, multiple times in recent months.