Fayette County

‘Out of darkness comes light.’ Vandalism at Jewish center near UK pulls community together.

A prayer service was held Thursday night at the University of Kentucky to show unity after vandals destroyed a sign last week at the Jewish Student Center.
A prayer service was held Thursday night at the University of Kentucky to show unity after vandals destroyed a sign last week at the Jewish Student Center.

After a vandal destroyed the sign in front of the Jewish Student Center near the University of Kentucky campus last week, community members gathered on campus Thursday night to show unity.

The prayer service, held in the Don and Cathy Jacobs Science Building, was organized to help Jewish students at UK feel supported and allow students of various backgrounds to support one another, said Rabbi Shlomo Litvin of Chabad of the Bluegrass.

“I’m a big believer that out of darkness comes a greater light,” Litvin said Thursday night. “Out of the unfortunate things that have happened, there was a tremendous outpouring of support and camaraderie on campus.”

Litvin has said he was inside the Jewish Student Center when he heard someone shouting “get the Jews” and “Heil Hitler” before a man lunged at the center’s sign and tore it down, according to WKYT, the Herald-Leader’s reporting partner.

Litvin said Thursday night that no arrests have been made, but he is confident that police are pursuing the case.

State Sen. Reggie Thomas, D-Lexington, attended the event Thursday night. U.S. Rep. Andy Barr, R-Lexington, and Mayor Jim Gray are among other officials who have expressed their concern, Litvin said.

Thomas said he attended Thursday night “to show that we are not going to let hate overcome unity at the University of Kentucky, that UK is a place that encourages diversity, that encourages different viewpoints, differences of all sorts, because that’s what makes us a community.”

Dozens of people from various groups and organizations at the university and Lexington came out to show their support Thursday night.

“This is the University of Kentucky, this community is what the university is,” Litvin said. “And yes, there is occasionally a bad apple; yes there is occasionally a dark day. But this room is what UK is.”

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