LEXINGTON, Ky. — A member of the University of Kentucky’s Jewish community is back at home recovering from injuries suffered in an attack.
It’s the second anti-Semitic incident since last month said a rabbi who witnessed what unfolded during the public menorah lighting over the weekend.
“Really what Saturday night’s lighting was a response to anti-Semitism,” said Rabbi Shlomo Litvin with the Chabad of the Bluegrass. “And we were preparing the menorah when someone pulled up.”
Rabbi Litvin said in November vandals destroyed their sign. The Chabad Jewish Student Center at UK had planned a public lighting ceremony of the menorah to mark Hanukkah.
“At first I wasn’t sure what was going on. I thought they needed directions or something and I quickly heard hateful words and vulgarity,” Litvin said.
But caught in the middle of all this was another community member who had gone to the center to get some menorah candles for his home.
“And as I turned one of member’s who is a veteran and a dedicated member of the Jewish community, knowing that there were children inside stepped between the driver-side window where the man was facing and the doorway,” Litvin said.
The member of the group confronted the driver.
“And the man grabbed him and pulled him towards the car and slammed on the gas dragging him 30 yards up the street and as he finally broke loose he drove over his leg,” Litvin said.
The extent of the member's injuries are not released by officials, but the Rabbi said the bone didn’t break in the leg, but he has severe muscle damage.
Lexington Police confirmed the driver grabbed the victim’s arm and accelerated the vehicle, and dragged the victim. When the driver let go, the victim fell and hit his head on the pavement.
“And he insisted that before 'I go to the hospital’ which was very clear that he needed medical attention, ‘I want to make sure we light the Menorah first’,” Litvin said.
While Hanukkah continues to be celebrated, the Rabbi said he’s disappointed in the actions and will continue to add more light during darkness.
“I’m certainly inspired by his reaction that we need to stay and light the Menorah. I’m inspired by my daughter’s reaction making sure we’re still lighting tonight and I’m invigorated that I will not allow any force or any anger or any hate to stop my light.”
Local and state officials called against these attacks.
The Jewish Federation of the Bluegrass said this in a statement: The Jewish Federation of the Bluegrass condemns the violent and abusive attack inflicted on Jewish community members during the menorah lighting ceremony at Chabad of the Bluegrass on the evening of December 12, 2020. As we have repeatedly warned, antisemitic attacks have been rising in the United States and globally. The Hannukah season reminds us of the importance of religious liberty, not just for Jews, but for all people. The Jewish community calls upon everyone to oppose antisemitism, racial hatred, and bigotry against perceived “others.” We wish for the speedy physical and spiritual healing of those who suffered from this attack, and remember that in times of darkness, light brings hope for Shalom, a world of wholeness and peace.