The third night of Chanukah was marred for the Chabad of Bluegrass in Lexington, Kentucky, when a driver passing by swore and jeered at the outdoor candle lighting on Saturday night.
COLlive.com reported that a congregant went over to the car to ask the man to stop, and he drove off, dragging the man for a brief time and then running over the congregant’s leg.
The congregant was taken to the hospital, and was released to heal at home on Sunday.
Rabbi Shlomo Litvin the Chabad rabbi, wrote on his social media that “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 attacker grabbed the man and held his arm, dragging him for a block, and running over his leg. The car then sped off … Before he left for the hospital, the newest hero of Chanukah insisted we light the Menorah, and not allow darkness to quench our light.”
The situation is under investigation, and Rabbi Litvin has been in contact with the local police. Police are searching for the suspect, and keeping careful watch on Chabad houses in the state.
Democratic Governor Andy Beshear condemned the hate crime in a statement on social media. “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,” he wrote.
Lexington Mayor Linda Gorton released a statement on social media as well.“Racism and religious persecution have no place here,” Gorton said on Twitter. “Police have started an investigation into the criminal incident at Chabad of the Bluegrass on Saturday. Those who violated the law will be prosecuted. Let’s join in the spirit of Chanukah, a celebration of good over evil.”
Chabad of Bluegrass has suffered previously from vandalism, Times of Israel reported, and Rabbi Litvin launched neighborly educational programs in response.
“Our scheduled lighting a will continue to take place across Kentucky,” wrote Rabbi Litvin on social media. “[We] encourage everyone to share their light with the community. May we soon see the day where the light of the menorah is seen everywhere, and we never know of darkness or hate.”
Updated Wednesday, December 16, 2020 at 1:23 pm .