LEXINGTON, Ky. (LEX 18) — The deadly attack on a California synagogue has shaken Jewish communities throughout the world, just the latest in a trend of anti-Semitic incidents in the United States.
Jewish leaders in Lexington are also working to process the latest attack.
The deadly shootings in Pittsburgh last October and in California on Saturday may be the most notorious anti-Semtic attacks in recent memory, but according to the Anti-Defamation League, they’re part of an uptick in hate crimes against Jewish communities.
The organization’s data show there were 1,986 anti-Semitic incidents reported across the country in 2017. That’s a 57 percent increase from 2016.
Many synagogues have boosted security because of these threats. But Jewish leaders say they won’t let fear tactics silence them.
On Sunday, congregants in synagogues in Lexington and across the country with gather to observe Yom Hashoah, or Holocaust Remembrance Day. It commemorates the 6 million Jews who were killed in the Holocaust.
For many, Yom Hashoah is a reminder of the importance of resistance in the face of unspeakable tragedy.
“If people think that after crusades and pogroms and exiles, the destruction of two temples, that this kind of violence is going to intimidate us out of being Jewish, they are sorely mistaken,” said Rabbi David Wirtschafter of Lexington’s Temple Adath Israel.
He went on to say anti-Semitism is a worldwide epidemic that needs to be confronted. The FBI has said it plans to launch training for police officers on how to identify hate crimes.