In a historic moment, both bodies of the Kentucky Assembly on Thursday unanimously passed a state resolution to condemn antisemitism as defined by the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA), calling on public officials to confront antisemitism and Jew-hatred.
The recognition comes after a series of antisemitic incidents across the Bluegrass State in the past year, including hate-filled flyers being left in various neighborhoods, vandalism at a Jewish center, a car attack and threatening phone calls made to Rabbi Shlomo Litvin of Chabad of the Bluegrass in Lexington.
Rabbi Shlomo Litvin, who helped craft the resolution, congratulated both houses on this moment of solidarity.
“The Lubavitcher Rebbe, Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson, my personal mentor and the foremost leader of world Judaism in the modern era, taught it is the duty of a leader to seek out the welfare of all particular sectors of the community and thereby ensure the flourishing of the whole.” Rabbi Litvin said.
“Today the leaders in the Kentucky Assembly showed that leadership, our entire commonwealth is uplifted by it, and the Jewish community thanks them,” he added.
The day began with Rabbi Avrohom Litvin, Regional Director of Chabad of Kentucky, praying in the Kentucky Senate, while Rabbi Shlomo Litvin of Chabad of the Bluegrass prayed in the House of Representatives, marking the first time in Kentucky’s history that Rabbis prayed simultaneously in both houses of the Assembly.
On Friday, on the Jewish festival of Purim, Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear will join the Assembly in their resolution, finalizing the resolution and making Kentucky the first US state to officially adopt the IHRA definition of antisemitism.
The IHRA definition is an internationally agreed classification of antisemitism, which also provides contemporary examples of how antisemitism too often plays out in public life, the media, schools, the workplace, and in the religious sphere.
The working IHRA definition, published in 2016, states that “Antisemitism is a certain perception of Jews, which may be expressed as hatred toward Jews. Rhetorical and physical manifestations of antisemitism are directed toward Jewish or non-Jewish individuals and/or their property, toward Jewish community institutions and religious facilities.”