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Thread: Monsey Hanukkah stabbing victim Josef Neumann (72) dies three months after attack

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    5 people were stabbed when a knife weilding man attacked a rabbi's home during a Hanukkah party

    Five people were stabbed and injured late Saturday when a knife-wielding man attacked a rabbi?s home during a Hanukkah party in New York, police said.

    According to The New York Times, the stabbing happened shortly before 10 p.m. at Rabbi Chaim Rottenberg?s house in Monsey, a suburb of New York City. Dozens of guests were celebrating the Jewish holiday when a man pulled out a large blade and ?started attacking people right away as soon as he came in the door,? witness Aron Kohn told the newspaper. The attacker then fled, authorities said.

    Update 10:17 a.m. EST Dec. 29: The suspect accused in the stabbing of five people at a Hanukkah party at a rabbi?s home in Monsey, New York will face five counts of attempted murder and one count of burglary, Ramapo police Chief Brad Weidel told The Associated Press.

    New York police found the suspect in Harlem early Sunday and arrested him, Weidel told WNBC-TV. Authorities have not released his name.

    Update 8:55 a.m EST Dec. 29: Speaking with reporters early Sunday in Monsey, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo blamed the attack at a Hanukkah party in Rockland County on ?domestic terrorists.?

    ?Let?s call it what it is,? Cuomo said. ?These are domestic terrorists.?

    Former New York state assemblyman Dov Hikind called for leaders to take action after the attack.

    ?We are in a crisis. This is an emergency situation and the leaders of the state of New York need to declare that in the state of New York anti-Semitism is out of control and what people want to know, is what is the plan, what is going to be done to address this,? Hikind told WABC.

    Original report: Emergency responders rushed the five people who suffered stab wounds ? all Hasidic Jews ? to nearby hospitals, the Orthodox Jewish Public Affairs Council tweeted. Two of the victims were critically injured, the organization said.

    By midnight Sunday, New York police had found the suspect in Harlem and arrested him, Ramapo Police Chief Brad Weidel told WNBC-TV. Authorities have not released his name.

    In a statement early Sunday, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said he was directing the New York State Police Hate Crimes Task Force to investigate the attack.

    ?Let me be clear: Anti-Semitism and bigotry of any kind are repugnant to our values of inclusion and diversity, and we have absolutely zero tolerance for such acts of hate,? the statement read.

    I am horrified by the stabbing of multiple people at a synagogue in Rockland County tonight.

    We have zero tolerance for anti-Semitism in NY and we will hold the attacker accountable to the fullest extent of the law.

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    The jews of NYC are very nice people, very quiet people, they bother no one but lately others are out to get them.

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    When a man with a "big machete knife" burst into a rabbi's home, stabbing victims as they celebrated Hanukkah, Josef Gluck ran away from the danger.
    Then he came back to confront it.

    It was Saturday night, and dozens of people had gathered at Rabbi Chaim Rottenberg's home in Monsey, New York.

    They congregants spanned generations, from 2 months old to 80 years old. About 20 of the youngsters were the rabbi's own grandchildren, Gluck told CNN's "New Day" on Monday.

    As the rabbi was finishing the candle-lighting ceremony, "the attacker came in ... with his big machete knife," Gluck said.

    "I started to run out through a side door, together with people (in) the dining room."

    But he didn't feel right about escaping, especially if others still needed help.

    So "I ran back to the front door to see if I could help anyone from the other side," Gluck said.
    He saw one victim had a severe head injury.

    "I said, 'Let's go ... The attacker's still in the kitchen.' " Gluck recalled. But the victims said he was bleeding too severely to move.

    Realizing the attacker's rampage wasn't over, Gluck said he grabbed a coffee table, went after the assailant and "hit him in his face."

    "And that's when he came back ... after me," Gluck said. "He told me, 'Hey you! I'll get you!' He started walking towards me."

    But Gluck kept screaming "He's coming!" and warned everyone else to flee.

    Eventually, the assailant decided to leave. But Gluck wasn't going to let him get away with stabbing five people, leaving at least one seriously wounded.

    So Gluck slowly followed the attacker outside.

    "He sat in his car. I looked for his (license) plate number, called 911," Gluck said.

    Police tracked down suspect Grafton Thomas about an hour after the attack when a license plate reader captured his Nissan Sentra's tag as it was crossing a bridge into New York City, authorities said.

    Thomas has pleaded not guilty to five counts of attempted murder and one count of burglary. Bail was set Sunday at $5 million.

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    One of the NY Hanukkah stabbing victims may not regain consciousness, his family says

    Doctors are not optimistic one of the men stabbed at a New York Hanukkah celebration will regain consciousness, according to the victim's family.

    Josef Neumann, who was one of five people assaulted Saturday in the upstate hamlet of Monsey, suffered multiple stab wounds to his head, neck and arms, his family said in a statement posted to social media by the Orthodox Jewish Public Affairs Council. Shoshana Bernstein, a spokeswoman for the Orthodox Jewish community in Monsey, said the statement is accurate.

    "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," the statement said.

    The family described Neumann's condition as dire and said a weapon "penetrated his skull directly into the brain." His right arm was shattered.

    "Our father has seven children, many grandchildren, a great grandchild, and brothers and sisters," the statement said.

    "We shall not let this terrible hate-driven attack be forgotten, and let us all work to eradicate all sorts of hate."

    Yisroel Kraus, who was a guest at the home of the rabbi where a man wounded the victims with a machete, described Neumann as a mentor and an "incredibly kind human being."

    "One of the most selfless people I know," Kraus told CNN. "Since I knew him he was a very poor man. He never had a dime to his name and always goes around collecting money for other poor families. It was never about himself."

    Another survivor was hit in the side of the head by the suspect's machete and doctors had to use three staples to close his wounds, Rabbi Shmuel Gancz told CNN Tuesday.

    Shloime Rottenberg, the son of Rabbi Chaim Rottenberg, had just finished the ceremony of lighting the menorah at his father's home when the attack started, Gancz said.

    "They are grateful for what they deem a minor injury considering where else the machete could have hit him, such as his eyes," Gancz said of Rottenberg and his family.

    Authorities identified the suspect as Grafton Thomas, 37. He pleaded not guilty to five counts of attempted murder Sunday. A day later, he was charged by federal agents with obstruction of free exercise of religious beliefs involving an attempt to kill -- a federal hate crime. A judge ordered him to be detained.

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    Monsey Hanukkah stabbing victim Josef Neumann (72) dies three months after attack

    Josef Neumann, the most gravely wounded victim from a Hanukkah machete attack at a rabbi?s home in Monsey, New York, died on Sunday, law-enforcement sources said. He was 72.

    Neumann was one of five men allegedly hacked by Grafton Thomas on Dec. 28 while celebrating the Jewish Festival of Lights in Rabbi Chaim Rottenberg?s home.

    The 18-inch machete allegedly used by 37-year-old Thomas ?penetrated [Neumann?s] skull directly into the brain? his family said in a statement at the time.

    Two days after the attack, a graphic photo posted to Twitter by the Orthodox Jewish Public Affairs Council showed Neumann on a respirator and lying comatose in a bed at the Westchester Medical Center in Valhalla.

    Two long rows of stitches that ran parallel to one another were over his left eye.

    Despite his very critical condition, Neumann?s family was holding out hope that he would emerge from his coma.

    And, in fact, he did show signs of improvement for a while, even though doctors said that if he did survive he would have significant brain damage.

    ?We hope he wakes to a changed world with peace, unity and love for all,? his youngest daughter, Nicky Kohen, said less than a week after the attack.

    ?Let?s stand up together and stop the hatred.?

    Thomas was charged with five counts of attempted murder and federal hate crimes.

    The FBI has claimed Thomas kept anti-Semitic journals and surfed the Internet for possible targets before settling on the Rockland County community.

    He could face an upgraded murder charge now that Neumann has died, sources said.

    Thomas was allegedly covered in blood and had the machete stashed under the passenger seat of his car when NYPD cops busted him in Harlem about an hour after the attack.

    Defense lawyer Michael Sussman has denied that Thomas is anti-Semitic, saying that his client has a history of psychosis and was off his meds at the time.

    Sussman in late January asked a federal judge to approve a competency evaluation for Thomas, arguing that a defense-hired psychiatrist found him incompetent to stand trial.

    Before the attack, Thomas had more 20 encounters with police in Greenwood Lake ? about 22 miles northwest of Monsey ? where he lived with his mother, according to police documents obtained by The Post.

    He was arrested twice by Greenwood Lake Police, once in 2002 for allegedly smoking marijuana, and again in 2009 for allegedly assaulting a man.

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