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Religious leaders, community members come together after Chabad House fire

WAVE Louisville logo WAVE Louisville 5/24/2022 David Ochoa
The community gathers at the Jewish Community Center. © Provided by WAVE Louisville The community gathers at the Jewish Community Center.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - Religious leaders, elected officials among others attended a ceremony at the Jewish Community Center on Sunday to show unity after a fire destroyed the Chabad of Kentucky back in April.

On April 23, firefighters were called around 4 a.m. to respond to the headquarters for Chabad of Kentucky in Almara Circle after a grease fire broke out, spokesperson for the Saint Matthews Fire Department Rick Tonini said.

Firefighters were able to extinguish the fire and clear the building before another fire broke out just hours later.

When the community heard news of what happened, people from all different backgrounds jumped into action. The support reminded the Jewish Community of how much can get done when everyone works together.

Now they want to remind everyone else.

“This was a time when the building would’ve been filled with kids including my own,” Rabbi Shmully Litvin said. “And it went so quickly, that who knows what would’ve happened.”

They were able to save the Torahs, but the building was lost. After the fire, many from the community, including Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer, reached out.

Litvin told the story of the phone call he received from the mayor.

“He called me and said ‘Rabbi, this is Greg’,” Litvin recalled. “And when I said ‘is this Mayor Fischer? I don’t know that many Gregs.’ He said ‘today it’s just Greg. How can I help? What can my wife and I do? What can my boys do? What do you need help with?’”

It was just one of many phone calls the Rabbis received.

“When you have a community of resilience and a community that loves and appreciates each other the way that we’ve demonstrated here in our city of compassion time and time again, it’s a reassuring fact that we know that when we’re knocked down, there will be people there,” Fischer said.

That’s why they brought everyone into the auditorium at the Jewish Community Center; to say thank you. One by one, people from different faiths and from around the community kindled lights on a menorah to signify the unity in the community.

In a heartfelt speech, Litvin showed his appreciation.

“So tonight I say with a full heart, thank you God.”

The rabbis are taking steps to rebuild bigger and better so that they can be even more dedicated to serving the community.

The situation has inspired the Rabbis to do even more help and bring more light into the community. They encourage everyone to pay it forward and do more random acts of kindness.

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