On Sunday evening, Chabad of Rabbi Bluegrass Shlomo Litvin visited the UK Jewish Student Center on campus to oversee construction of the sidewalk outside the center. After arriving, Litvin discovered the center sign and the base of the large outer menorah destroyed in what he believes was a hate crime.
“I came outside the Jewish Student Center UK to oversee some building work on the pavement. I immediately noticed that our welcome sign, which explains that we are the Jewish Center, and our menorah, one of our most recognizable signs about Judaism and religious freedom, had been vandalized,” Litvin said.
Litvin was able to fix the menorah, but the $600 sign will need to be replaced.
“The panel had been knocked down and the menorah had been detached from its base. The menorah was quickly repairable, although at some cost, however, it currently looks like the panel will need to be replaced,” Litvin said.
The vandalism at the UK Jewish Student Center comes after an arson attack destroyed the University of Delaware’s Chabad Center last August, and anti-Semitic pamphlets were left at a Chabad center in Florida.
“This attack on the center is particularly painful because it joins a series of recent attacks on Jewish centers on campuses across the country, including the arson attack on the Chabad Center at the University of Delaware,” Litvin said. .
The UK’s Chabad Center is no stranger to anti-Semitic attacks. This is the fourth time in five years that their sign has been destroyed.
“Unfortunately, this is the fourth time our sign has been vandalized, and this joins many other anti-Semitic incidents that have occurred on campus,” Litvin said.
A previous Kernel article details the January 2018 vandalism of the UK Jewish Student Center sign.
While no one witnessed the vandalism last Sunday in 2018, Litvin heard young adults shouting “Heil Hitler,” “Catch the Jews, kill the Jews,” and other similar lines outside the Student Center Jew, and saw one of them damage the panel. .
The next day, Litvin and his young daughter used the sign as a sled to feel Martin Luther King Jr.’s quote, “Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.”
“Because a broken sign can be used in two ways,” he said. “It can be used as an object of fear, intimidation; but even a broken sign can be used as an object of joy and love, and I chose to do that,” Litvin said in 2018.
Today, Litvin feels the same way. The British Jewish Center will not be intimidated or live in fear.
“Hateful acts like these are meant to intimidate and scare others, and while this attack causes great pain, we are not intimidated, we are not afraid, and we will continue to proudly celebrate. our Judaism at the University of Kentucky,” Litvin said.
There were no witnesses to Sunday’s vandalism, but crime scene footage is currently being examined by police.
“While there were no witnesses to the crime, we have cameras and security is going through them right now,” Litvin said.
The Jewish Center UK follows the words of the late Lubavitcher Rebbe in continuing after this incident.
“The Lubavitcher Rebbe, Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson, the greatest leader of world Judaism in the modern age, has always taught that we must meet darkness with light. Not only will we continue our current business, but it will only motivate us to add to our current offerings,” Litvin said.
Litvin hopes the UK will condemn this and other heinous acts of violence.
“The University can create a more inclusive environment by speaking out against hate. Racist or anti-Semitic incidents rarely elicit comment, and the University can take a stronger stand,” Litvin said.