LEXINGTON, Ky. (LEX 18) – The Jewish community in Lexington is grieving after the synagogue attack in Pittsburgh on Saturday.
The rabbi at the UK Jewish Student Center has several ties to Pittsburgh. His grandmother lives in the Squirrel Hill area, and he studied in the city for more than three years.
He says this tragic mass shooting hits very close to home.
“Hate will never be stronger than light. very little light can dispel a whole lot of darkness,” said Rabbi Shlomo Litvin.
The rabbi recalls dropping into Tree of Life Synagogue on many occasions as a student. His grandfather was an influential leader in the community.
“Immediately thought of the many synagogues that I took part in, that my grandfather was a leader in, and my family prays in,” said Rabbi Shlomo.
A harsh reminder that anti-Semitism is still relevant today.
“Anti-Semitic attacks amount to 54% of hate crimes in the United States. For the size of the Jewish community in the United States, that is remarkable,” said Rabbi Shlomo.
The rabbi wants the alleged shooter to know one thing.
“You killed 11 beautiful people. You killed people with families with community ties, and I would want him to look in the eyes of each of their children or grandchildren,” said Rabbi Shlomo.
He says he has spoken to Lexington Police, and they’ll keep a patrol officer in the area.
The UK Jewish Student Center is having a vigil on Monday night at 8:00 to remember the 11 lives lost in Pittsburgh.
While the Jewish community grieves, other religious leaders in Lexington want them to know, they’re not alone.
“Following our teachers, and following our scriptures, says that we have a responsibility to support and protect one another,” said Waheedah Muhammad.
Muhammad is the chair of the Kentucky chapter of the Council of American-Islamic Relations. She says her heart breaks for her Jewish friends.
“We feel their pain and send our sincere condolences,” said Muhammad.
In the wake of the attack, she says security is on the minds of religious leaders.
“It’s not that we live in a constant fear, but we know that we need to be cautious,” said Muhammad.
She says regardless of faith, Lexington’s religious community sticks together.