Man Injured in Attack on Menorah-Lighting Ceremony

Kentucky attacker shouted anti-Semitic abuse
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 14, 2020 2:12 PM CST

(Newser) – A man was injured in an attack on a menorah-lighting ceremony outside a Jewish community center in Kentucky Saturday night—but he insisted that the menorah be lit before he was taken to a hospital. In a Facebook post, Lexington's Chabad of the Bluegrass says a car pulled up outside the center, almost hitting a camera crew, and the driver started shouting anti-Semitic abuse from the vehicle. "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 center says. "The attacker grabbed the man and held his arm, dragging him for a block, and running over his leg. The car then sped off." Police say they are looking for a man in his 20s who was driving a black SUV, the Lexington Herald Leader reports.

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After the attack, "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 tells WKYT. "Anything can be used for spirituality or negativity. Anything that happens to you, how you react is what that thing is." Police say the victim was hospitalized with non-life-threatening injuries. The attack was condemned by leaders including Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear. "This hate has absolutely no place in the commonwealth," Beshear tweeted. "That this attack occurred on the third night of Hanukkah, during menorah-lighting celebrations, makes it all the more hateful, hurtful, and cowardly." (Read more Kentucky stories.)

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