Rabbi Menachem Shemtov, Director of Chabad Georgetown and who leads services in the Pentagon, was brutally attacked when he was kicked out of a Lyft car by the driver. Shockingly, the driver then proceeded to physically assault him, leaving Rabbi Shemtov injured and in need of medical treatment. This violent act has left the community outraged and seeking justice. The assailant fled the scene, but Lyft has stated that they have identified the attacker. However, police have yet to make an arrest, adding to the distress and frustration surrounding the incident. You can watch the full story and video below to understand the full extent of this shocking event.
January 30, 2024 – 20 Shevat 5784
Rabbi Menachem Shemtov, Director of Chabad Georgetown and who leads services in the Pentagon, was kicked out of a Lyft car and then violently attacked by the driver. The attacker fled the scene, but Lyft said they identified him. Police have yet to make an arrest. Full Story, Video
By COLlive reporter
Lyft ride-hailing service has let go of the driver who attacked Rabbi Menachem Shemtov, Director of Chabad of Georgetown, in a violent altercation on Sunday morning.
The 29-year-old Shemtov entered the vehicle after davening at TheShul of American Friends of Lubavitch in Washington, DC.
“I asked him to lower the music; he turned it off completely,” Shemtov told the media. “We turned the corner (onto Connecticut Avenue), and he said he doesn’t like my energy. (He) called me weird, and I got out, and for whatever reason, he then followed me, too, to punch me in the face and continue beating me.”
The assault on the Chabad rabbi was captured on video both by Shemtov and a bystander. The driver held a car key in his hand while punching Shemtov in the face. Shemtov went to be treated at a clinic for a gash to his face.
Despite Shemtov wearing a yarmulke and suspecting a connection to his Judaism, D.C. police are not treating the incident as a hate crime, it was reported.
The driver then fled the area. “I really don’t see what it is to defend anything right there, especially when you leave the scene and flee right afterwards,” Shemtov said.
In a statement to NBC Washington, Lyft says it identified the driver.
“Lyft unequivocally condemns this behavior,” the statement says. “Upon learning of this incident, we deactivated the driver, and we’ve been in touch with the rider. We encourage riders and drivers to report harassment, discrimination, or safety concerns in the Lyft app.”
Police have not made an arrest.
Shemtov is the son of Rabbi Levi Shemtov, executive vice president of American Friends of Lubavitch, and the grandson of Rabbi Avraham Shemtov, the Rebbe’s Shliach to the White House and Chairman of Aguas Chassidei Chabad International.