During an evening Yom Kippur service at Indiana University (IU) on 27th September, an individual drove passed a group of Jewish students and yelled antisemitic statements at the congregation.
According to the IU Police Department (IUPD) Deputy Chief, members of the student body IU Hillel were having an outdoor service on the lawn at the front of the building in line with local COVID-19 prevention measures. The perpetrator shouted “Heil Hitler!” out of the vehicle’s window during the service.
Several IU freshman students said that although leaders anticipated some form of confrontation with such a public service, the lack of security led to greater anxiety following the incident. One female freshman stated: “There’s been so many shootings and antisemitic acts. Even though it was just words, that doesn’t mean they can’t take action later.”
In response to the recent incident, IU Hillel leader Rabbi Sue Silberberg requested that IUPD patrol the site and the surrounding area to ensure that Jewish students are protected and can continue to connect with the centre and its activities without fear of abuse. In a social media post on 2nd October the organisation condemned the offensive act as evidence for the antisemitic beliefs “of a small minority.”
As a result of the incident, IU’s Dean of Students, Dave O’Guinn, encouraged all students to shine a light on the issue of antisemitism on campus in solidarity with the Jewish community. He said that he stands with the Jewish students, faculty and staff as they engage with cultural and religious customs in peace.
While IUPD took a case report of the incident, it is not actively investigating the act at present as the car description and license plate are currently unknown. If the IUPD receives further information from the public, however, the investigation would be opened to identify the suspect, according to the IUPD.