Jewish Man Attacked at Lower Manhattan Duane Reade In Possible Hate Crime


NEW YORK (New York Daily News/TNS) — A Jewish man was attacked inside a lower Manhattan Duane Reade store when an innocent bumping erupted into a full-blown hate crime, police said Saturday.

The Tuesday morning beating comes as antisemitic incidents across the city have skyrocketed while the the conflict in Gaza continues.

The 66-year-old victim was leaving the Duane Reade on John St. near Broadway about 9:30 a.m. when he accidentally bumped into a 40-year-old man in a purple and black North Face jacket.

The stranger yelled an ethnic expletive at victim, said as he turned around and punched the victim in the head, cops said.

The suspect was last seen wearing a purple and black North Face jacket, a yellow polo shirt and dark pants. (DCPI) The victim suffered a head injury in the split-second attack but refused medical attention.

His attacker left the store and remained at large Saturday. Members of the New York Police Department Hate Crimes Task Force are investigating the incident.

Tuesday’s attack was just one of a handful of antisemitic crimes to occur this week as Jews across New York celebrated the beginning of Hanukkah.

On Thursday, the first night of the Jewish holiday, a man fired a shotgun outside the Temple Israel Synagogue in Albany, officials said. The FBI quickly arrested Mufid Fawaz Alkhader.

That same day in Brooklyn vandals damaged a public menorah display at 44th St. and Sixth Ave. in Sunset Park, cops said. A few hours later, a thief stole the menorah from Chabad Sunset Park’s center lawn.

The hate-fueled crimes continued in Crown Heights, where Joshua Merenfeld was beaten, robbed and derided as a “dirty Jew” also on Thursday.

Merenfeld, 40, had just stepped out of his Crown Heights home on Eastern Parkway near Albany Ave. for a quick cigarette when he was sucker punched from behind.

“I didn’t realize what was going on until the second punch. I think he was hitting me with something. Maybe it was my phone,” Merenfeld told The New York Daily News.

Police have seen an uptick in hate crimes against Jews since the beginning of the Israeli-Hamas war on Oct. 7.

In November, antisemitic incidents tracked by the NYPD jumped 32% to 62 compared to 47 in November 2022. There were also seven crimes against Muslims last month, compared to zero in the same month last year.

As of Dec. 3, cops had investigated 284 hate crimes against Jews, which ranged from assaults, to swastikas being left on Jewish institutions to bomb threats being made at city synagogues — a 5% jump from the 270 hate crimes investigated on the same date last year.

Nearly half of the antisemitic attacks investigated this year have occurred in the last two months since the beginning of the Israeli-Hamas conflict, cops said.

On Friday, Mayor Eric Adams gathered with dozens of faith leaders, calling for an end to hate crimes that “can cascade throughout our entire city, our state and in our country.

“I want to be clear: Everyone in our city, in this state, in this country has a right to practice their faith in peace,” Adams said.

The man wanted in Tuesday’s Duane Reade assault is described as Black and bald with a beard. He’s about 5-foot-7, 170 pounds and was last seen in the North Face jacket, a yellow polo shirt and dark pants.

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