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N.Y. man stabbed in Hanukkah machete attack unlikely to recover, family says

This is the home of Hasidic rabbi Chaim Rottenberg in Monsey, N.Y., where five people were wounded in a machete attack last weekend during a Hanukkah ceremony. Photo by Peter Foley/EPA-EFE
This is the home of Hasidic rabbi Chaim Rottenberg in Monsey, N.Y., where five people were wounded in a machete attack last weekend during a Hanukkah ceremony. Photo by Peter Foley/EPA-EFE

Jan. 2 (UPI) -- An Orthodox Jewish man seriously injured in a machete attack during a Hanukkah celebration in suburban New York City likely will never recover from his injuries, his family said.

Josef Neumann, 70, was one of five people assaulted by a machete-wielding attacker last weekend in Monsey, N.Y., during a Hanukkah celebration at the home of Hasidic Rabbi Chaim Rottenberg.

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State authorities have charged Grafton Thomas, 37, of Greenwood Lake, N.Y., with counts five attempted murder while federal prosecutors have added five hate-crime charges. He is being held on $5 million bond.

Neumann's family on Wednesday released a statement in which they said his prognosis for recovery was grim.

"The knife penetrated his skull directly into the brain," the statement read. "He also suffered three cuts to the head, one cut to the neck, and his right arm has been shattered. Our father's status is so dire that no surgery has yet been performed on the right arm.

"Doctors are not optimistic about his chances to regain consciousness, and if our father does miraculously recover partially, doctors expect that he will have permanent damage to the brain, leaving him partially paralyzed and speech-impaired for the rest of his life."

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The family urged fellow Jews to share their own experiences with anti-Semitism on social media with the hashtag #MeJew, adding, "We shall not let this terrible hate-driven attack be forgotten, and let us all work to eradicate all sorts of hate."

The family also posted a graphic picture of Neumann in his hospital bed to illustrate "the gravity of hate."

The mass attack at Neumann's home was part of a wave of anti-Semitic incidents recorded in and around New York City, which also included a Dec. 10 shooting in which two attackers targeted a kosher market in Jersey City, N.J., killing three people.

In a defiant response to the anti-Semitic wave, more than 90,000 Jews gathered at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J., on Wednesday to celebrate Siyum HaShas, a religious event honoring the study of the Talmud.

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