John Marx

The owner of a bagel shop in suburban Cincinnati passed out excess challah at the start of Rosh Hashanah the evening of Sept. 24 to protest the anti-Semitic signs of Robert Ransdell, a Florence, Ky., man who is a write-in candidate for U.S. Senate from Kentucky.

John Marx, who owns Marx Hot Bagels in Blue Ash, an Ohio suburb 15 minutes north of Cincinnati, said Sept. 30 he distributed the challah because the “With Jews We Lose” campaign signs Ransdell posted around the area disgusted him.

The challah overrun Marx produced was a perfect symbolic counter to Ransdell’s motto, suggested Marx.

“I’m Catholic by religion,” Marx said, calling Jesus a “practicing Jew.”

“If it wasn’t for Judaism there’d be no Christianity,” Marx added. “He (Ransdell) lives in northern Kentucky and so do I and I was really upset about the signs.” Marx lives in Crescent Springs, a suburb some 15 minutes north of Florence, where Ransdell lives.

“The challahs I gave were mostly to gentiles because the Jews already had them for the holidays,” Marx said. “It was pretty much later in the afternoon when I found out about this and I just started giving them away.”

Ransdell, meanwhile, has been associated with the National Alliance and the Ku Klux Klan, both white supremacist groups.

Most of Ransdell’s anti-Semitic signs have been taken down, but they may come back as the political season enters the home stretch.

Capt. Tom Grau of the Florence Police Department said U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell, the incumbent Republican challenged by Democrat Alison Lundergan Grimes, is to campaign in Florence this week and even though Grau doesn’t know of any Ransdell signs still standing, they’re likely to surface again.

“He’s going to pop back up with all this stuff when we get more into October,” Grau said Sept. 30.

An attempt to reach Ransdell at the Florence branch of Coins Plus, a dealer in rare coins and bullion with four outlets in Greater Cincinnati, was unsuccessful. A man answering the phone there said he couldn’t give out any information, such as when Ransdell was to report for work, when a reporter told him he was calling from the Cleveland Jewish News.

In an email cited in a Sept. 27 online Cincinnati Enquirer story, Ransdell called Marx’s challah overrun distribution “humorous,” adding,“it shows just how ridiculous of a stand some will take against reality and the truth.”

Ransdell’s opinions left Marx fuming.

“He doesn’t know what the truth is and he doesn’t know what reality is,” Marx said. “He should read history, he should read the Bible, and if he claims to be (a member of) any kind of religion at all he should read the New Testament. Jesus said what you do to my people you do to me. My personal opinion is I think Jews, Catholics, Protestants should put aside their differences and get people in the political arena that have moral values and ethics. This country was founded on freedom of religion, not freedom from religion.

“If we would all live by the Ten Commandments, we would all be better people.”

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