For eight days straight, every single day of Hanukkah 2019, the residents of one region’s Jewish neighborhoods have been under attack.
Sadly, we’ve grown accustomed to hearing about anti-Jewish attacks in the nation of Israel. However every single one of these attacks happened right here in America – in the state of New York, in fact.
Orthodox and observant Jews in New York’s oldest Jewish neighborhoods – from Manhattan to Crown Heights to Brooklyn – have found themselves under daily attack during this year’s Feast of Dedication, beginning on the first day of Hanukkah and every day of the observance since.
- Monday morning 12-22: A 65-year-old Jewish man was attacked on 41st street for wearing a yarmulke. Witnesses report the attacker screamed “**** YOU, JEWISH BASTARD” as he repeatedly punched and kicked the Jewish man.
- Monday night 12-23: Two young Jewish boys were attacked and punched in the stomach in the street near their Williamsburg, NY home.
- Tuesday morning 12-24: A 25-year-old Jewish man was surrounded by a small crowd of people hurling anti-Jewish slurs in Crown Heights.
- Tuesday evening 12-24: a 56-year-old Jewish man was “sucker-punched” from behind by a group shouting anti-Jewish slurs in Crown Heights, NY.
- Wednesday morning 12-25: A complete stranger walked up to a NY Jewish man and sucker-punched him in the chin.
- Thursday afternoon 12-26: In Gravesend, 42-year-old Ayana Logan approached a 34-year-old Jewish woman out for a walk with her 3-year-old son, screaming “You ******* Jew, the end is coming for you!” before beating the young mother with her bag. Thankfully, the child was unharmed.
- Friday morning 12-27: 30-year-old Tiffany Harris walked through a Jewish Brooklyn neighborhood, randomly approaching Jewish women and greeting them with “**** you, Jews” before slapping them in the face.
If you thought all of this New York-based anti-Jewish violence might be leading up to something — you would, sadly, be correct.
Saturday evening 12-28 in Rockland County, NY – the area with the highest per capita Jewish population in the United States – Rabbi Rottenburg and dozens of congregants had just lit the 7th Hanukkah candle in a joyous celebration when 37- year-old Grafton Thomas barged into the house wielding a machete that victims described to be ‘as long as a broomstick’.
Thomas’ first victim was a developmentally disabled man near the door. After hacking the poor man who was frozen in terror several times, the assailant reportedly focused on children as he chased down terrified Jews, hacking at anyone he could reach with his deadly blade. 5 people were sent to the hospital with serious wounds; two remain in critical care.
Jews. Developmentally Disabled. Children. Elderly.
The targets of these cowardly attacks are all too familiar. While there are not many Holocaust survivors left, there still remain those who lived through the horror and they will tell you that detestable period of time began with just such attacks… not only in Germany, but across Europe. 75 years after the liberation of the last concentration camps, 75 years after the world swore “never again,” we are nonetheless again witnessing a rise in attacks on Jews…right here in America.
It is unclear at this time whether the spate of New York attacks is a coordinated campaign or simply the early warning signs of a rising societal phenomenon.
Regardless of the cause, this animus must be checked for we have seen the disastrous results of unbridled anti-Jewish racism! We must not allow such horror to ever occur again.
We must now, as one, stand with our Jewish brothers and sisters both here and abroad.