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December 14, 2020 11:54 am
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One Person Injured During Antisemitic Attack on Menorah-Lighting Ceremony at University of Kentucky

avatar by Algemeiner Staff

A police car outside the Chabad center at the University of Kentucky. Photo: Screenshot.

Police in Lexington, Kentucky, have boosted their patrols near the University of Kentucky’s Chabad center following an antisemitic attack on a menorah-lighting ceremony on Saturday night that left one person injured.

The incident occurred as a crowd gathered at the  university’s Jewish Student Center at 7 p.m. to light a menorah for the third night of the Jewish festival of Hanukkah.

Rabbi Shlomo Litvin, who was presiding over the ceremony, said that a car pulled up alongside the group, with the male driver yelling antisemitic slurs.

Litvin told local news outlet WKYT that a community member at the lighting ceremony walked up to the vehicle and tried to prevent the driver from causing further disruption. Officials said the driver reached out and grabbed the victim, accelerating the car and dragging him before swerving and running over his leg.

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Litvin said the victim refused to be treated until the menorah was lit.

“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 Hanukkah,'” Rabbi Litvin said. “Anything can be used for spirituality or negativity. Anything that happens to you, how you react is what that thing is.”

The victim was taken to the University of Kentucky hospital. He was released on Sunday morning.

Police are still trying to locate the vehicle and driver involved in the assault. Litvin pointed out that Saturday night’s incident followed several episodes of vandalism at the Chabad center in recent months.

Local politicians roundly condemned Saturday night’s outrage.

“Racism and religious persecution have no place here,” Lexington Mayor Linda Gorton tweeted. “Those who violated the law will be prosecuted. Let’s join in the spirit of Chanukah, a celebration of good over evil.”

Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron denounced the attack as “sickening and unacceptable,” and said it was a reminder of the need to combat “antisemitism in all its forms.”

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