Police are investigating an anti-Semitic hate crime in Kentucky after a driver hit a Jewish man with his car and shouted anti-Semitic abuse at Jewish worshipers on Saturday.
The incident took place at the Chabad of the Bluegrass in Lexington, Kentucky where congregants were gathered for a public menorah lighting ceremony to mark the third day of Hanukkah.
An unknown driver stopped his car and direct anti-Semitic abuse at those gathered. When a member of the community approached the man and asked him to leave, the driver accelerated, dragging the Jewish man along the road before running over his leg.
“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,’” Rabbi Shlomo Litvin told WKYT. “Anything can be used for spirituality or negativity. Anything that happens to you, how you react is what that thing is.”
The victim was discharged from the hospital the following day and was recovering at home, Litvin said.
The incident drew swift condemnation from local and state officials, including Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear, who decried the attack.
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. (1 of 2) https://t.co/0g2pfp6gHB
— Governor Andy Beshear (@GovAndyBeshear) December 13, 2020
Govenor Beshear said on Twitter:
“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.”
This same Jewish community has reported vandalism, including to its menorah, on a number of occasions in recent months. The rabbi also launched a community education effort this summer after “white power” flyers were distributed in the town. They are unsure if this perpetrator of this most recent incident has any connection with prior events.