A 50-year-old Jewish man was severely beaten and nearly choked to death while walking home around 1:30 p.m. Shabbos afternoon after davening at Kingsbrook Jewish Hospital, the second consecutive Shabbos in which an anti-Semitic attack occurred in Crown Heights.
“As I was walking home,” the victim, Menachem Moskowitz, told crownheights.info, “I passed a man smoking a cigar on the corner of Rutland and Schenectady and I said ‘good afternoon’ to him.”
“As soon as [I greeted] him he began yelling at me, ‘You fake Jews, who are you saying hello to? Your fake Jews and you stole all my money and robbed me, and stole my mortgage and my house. I want to kill you!’
“I thought the man was just crazy so I started walking away, and he shouted, ‘You don’t walk away from me,’ and started chasing after me.
“He caught up to me at the corner of East 46th Street and Rutland and jumped me. He put me in a choke-hold and I started to feel dizzy, I felt my air going out, I started saying Shema, I thought I was going to die.”
Moskowitz said he was able to move out of the choke-hold and began screaming for help, and the assailant said, “You don’t need help; I need to kill you.”
Moskowitz said that he held on to a fence for dear life.
“Two nurses who saw the attack intervened and separated the man from me and told me to go, to run away; they didn’t even bother calling police,” said the victim. “When I got home I called Hatzalah, who in turn notified the police.”
Moskowitz suffered a cracked rib, and had swelling, bruises and scratches all over his body.
The NYPD has released an image of the suspect, taken from surveillance-camera footage. He is described as black, in his 40s, 6’0″ and 200lbs, with a beard.
Police have opened a hate-crimes investigation.
“This city is a beacon of tolerance all over the world,” tweeted New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio. “Attacks on Jewish New Yorkers are deplorable.”
New York State Assemblyman Dov Hikind announced that a reward of $50,000 has been offered by a noted philanthropist from Los Angeles for information leading to the apprehension of the suspect. The Anti-Defamation league is offering a $5,000 reward for information leading to the arrests and convictions of the individuals responsible for this attack and for an attack on two Jewish men in Crown Heights the previous Shabbos.
On Monday, elected officials joined local residents in denouncing the attacks.
“We did too much over the last 20 some-odd years to bring the community together,” Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams said at a press conference at the corner where the attack occurred.
“We cannot let this undo that,” he said. “Everyone who heard about this … should have reached a level of anger that we are at now.”
Evan Bernstein, the New York regional director of the ADL, said that a 90 percent jump in anti-Semitic incidents in New York City since 2016 was alarming.
“No Jew, no minority, should ever walk the streets in fear,” Bernstein said on Monday. “We can’t let anti-Semitic attacks be normalized.”
Updated Tuesday, April 24, 2018 at 11:57 pm