A Monsey rebbi is in critical but stable condition after an apparently random, savage assault early Wednesday morning.
The victim, a 30-year-old maggid shiur, was on the way to shul when he was stabbed in the back, neck, stomach and one eye, and punched in the face. A 15-year-old boy boy saw the victim lying on the ground at the corner of Howard Drive and Ellish Parkway around 5:30 a.m., and asked him what had happened, but the victim was unresponsive. The boy ran into shul and borrowed a phone to call Hatzolah.
While in the ambulance, the victim was able to speak, and said that one or two people jumped out of a car and attacked him.
The victim has undergone multiple surgeries at Westchester Medical Center. Physicians are trying to save the eye that was stabbed.
Readers are asked to daven for the refuah sheleimah of Mordechai ben Bracha, besoch sh’ar cholei Yisrael.
While there is no known motive for the assault, elected officials noted that it comes during a time of rising anti-Semitism.
“Religious Jews in Rockland County have fear, real angst,” Rockland County Legislator Aron Wieder said at a press conference Wednesday. “They fear walking on the streets at times. They fear walking in the shopping malls.”
Wieder also noting that during recent elections, signs popped up on some residents’ lawns saying, “Beat the Bloc,” a reference to the Orthodox community.
“There has been, for a few years since a certain elected official got elected in Rockland County,” said Wieder, in an apparent reference to County Executive Ed Day, “a systematic hate social-media campaign” against Orthodox Jews.
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said in a statement that he is “directing the State Police Hate Crimes Task Force to assist the Ramapo Police Department and the Rockland County Sheriff’s office as they investigate this horrific assault and examine all potential motives, including whether the attack may have been motivated by anti-Semitism.
“This is not an isolated incident,” said the governor. “All across the state we’ve seen an alarming rise in anti-Semitic vandalism and hate-fueled attacks. We cannot allow the cancer of hate to metastasize any further. The escalation of hatred and anti-Semitism must end here and now, and I urge all New Yorkers to denounce hate whenever and wherever they see it.”
New York attorney general Letitia James tweeted, “The act of violence against a member of the Jewish community in Rockland Co. this morning is extremely disturbing. In NY, no one should feel threatened when going to their place of worship, period.”
Updated Wednesday, November 20, 2019 at 6:23 pm .