Lexington Rabbi responds to vandalism at Chabad at UK Jewish Student Center

This is the fourth time in five years the Chabad at UK Jewish Student Center sign has been...
This is the fourth time in five years the Chabad at UK Jewish Student Center sign has been vandalized and replaced.(WKYT)
Published: Nov. 9, 2020 at 9:32 PM EST
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LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT) - A hate crime is what Chabad of the Bluegrass Rabbi Shlomo Litvin calls the vandalism he found at the Jewish Student Center on UK’s campus.

“This is coming after a stream of anti-Semitic attacks on university campuses all across the country,” Rabbi Litvin said.

The University of Delaware Chabad house was burned to the ground, anti-Semitic pamphlets were left at a Chabad center in Florida, and now there was vandalism at the Chabad at UK Jewish Student Center.

“Sunday afternoon we had some construction outside the Jewish Student Center, so I came outside to supervise,” Rabbi Litvin said. “I noticed that our sign had been beaten in and that the menorah’s base had been messed with as well.”

Rabbi Litvin had the menorah fixed quickly and is planning to have the $600 sign replaced. It’s relatively minor property damage compared to the impact it has on the students who consider it a sanctuary.

“That sign has taken on an incredible meaning,” Rabbi Litvin said. “The menorah next to it, the original sign of religious freedom, the ultimate American expression that I have the right to my beliefs, which is what the menorah represents, to see those things attacked is extremely painful for many of our students.”

Rabbi Litvin said this is the fourth time in five years they’ve had to replace a vandalized sign but each time their reaction is to turn to their faith.

“The intention of all of these actions, all the ones against us and the ones across the country is to sow fear and disunity and distrust,” Rabbi Litvin said. “The fact is when we don’t let it do that when we respond rather with light and with joy and with faith then that is the ultimate response to that hateful action.”

Rabbi Litvin said they are reviewing security camera footage and working with Lexington Police to hold the suspect or suspects accountable.

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