Kentucky State Capitol
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The number of reported antisemitic incidents in Kentucky jumped 850 percent in 2020.

The increase is the largest in the 40 years that the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) has been keeping track of reports of antisemitism.

The hotspot for many of the incidents has been the University of Kentucky’s Jewish Center.

"It often feels like it's an avalanche," said Rabbi Shlomo Litvin of Chabad of the Bluegrass in an interview with NBC Lexington.

"A Jewish member of the community was assaulted, and is still in recovery. We see this escalation. We saw earlier that year notes of hate being left in people's door posts, and in their mailboxes," he said.

Incidents include a November defacement of the Jewish Center’s sign, a December menorah lighting ceremony assault where a community member was dragged and run over by a car, and as recently as several days ago, a group of people threw bottles at their building.

The huge increase in antisemitic incidents has the community worried. In 2019, there were only two reported incidents while in 2020 that number jumped to 19. Four of the incidents were in Lexington.

Mindy Haas, Executive Director of the Jewish Federation of the Bluegrass, told NBC Lexington that the numbers only tell part of the story, as they do not account for incidents that have gone unreported.

The increase in incidents “makes us stronger and it makes us want to fight harder to educate our community," she said.

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