Jewish students at UK speak on concerns of antisemitism

Jewish students at UK concerned about antisemitic acts
Published: Nov. 1, 2023 at 11:16 PM EDT
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LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT) - When the war in the Middle East began, the FBI warned of a possible rise in antisemitism across the country.

For two UK seniors in the Jewish community, their years in Lexington have been largely enjoyable. It’s come with some instances of ignorance about their religion along the way.

“Obviously, you’ll run into folks every now and then who will slip up or just be confused or not have the greatest type of insight,” one of the students told us.

However, it’s actions that are born of malice they worry about now amid the ongoing war.

“It’s very scary to have to think that it could come so close to home,” said one student.

These students leave their Star of David in their drawer when they head out to class,

“I don’t wear anything that would show my religion because you just don’t know how people are going to react,” said one student.

They did not want to identify themselves in this story for fear of backlash.

“There’s so much passion right now. Everyone’s hurting, I’m hurting. But you have to center humanity and recognize that people are still people,” said one student.

These two seniors say some peace of mind would go a long way in a world where it feels increasingly hard to find.

A UK spokesman tells me the university invested millions towards safety measures, and they aim to be a community of belonging, but these students are disheartened that the university hasn’t been vocal in condemning hate crimes or telling students to come forward if they don’t feel safe.

“It shouldn’t be conflicting or controversial to come out and be like, ‘Hey, antisemitism is bad, and you shouldn’t do it.’”

Lexington police say they handle hate crimes on a case-by-case basis. Sometimes, they will respond to these incidents. Other times, UK police will, or both agencies will work together.

They encourage anyone who is a victim of a hate or bias-motivated crime to come forward and report it.