Local rabbi calls for unity in face of anti-Semitism
One local rabbi is calling for unity in the face of the latest anti-Semitic attack at a suburban New York rabbi’s home that left five people injured the night of Dec. 28.
Connecticut law enforcement officials have announced that they are stepping up patrols at Jewish institutions across the state.
Rallies are also planned in the state to stand against the anti-Semitic attack that took place on the seventh night of Hanukkah in Monsey in Rockland County. Police said Grafton Thomas, 37, entered a rabbi’s house with a machete during the celebration and stabbed five people. Nearly 100 people were in the home at the time of the attack.
“It is time for all New Yorkers, no matter race, creed or political affiliation, to come together to stamp out the scourge of anti-Semitism,” said rabbi Shneur Brook of the Chabad of Shelton and Monroe. “We must educate, especially the youth, about the universal dignity and sanctity of every human life. This knowledge leaves no room for hate of a fellow human being.”
Chabad of Shelton and Monroe does not have any specific event planned in reaction to the New York incident, said Brook, adding that his monthly Shabbat services/dinner will be “dedicated in the merit of the recovery of those injured in the attack, and we're going to encourage congregants to show up in honor of this.”
The Hanukkah stabbing was only the latest in a series of anti-Semitic attacks in the region. There have been 10 such attacks in the state of New York since Dec. 23, according to the Anti-Defamation League.
"We are deeply disturbed by the horrifying act of terror in Monsey,” said Brook. “As a community, we are very alarmed by the rise of anti-Semitic attacks in and around New York City.”
Brook said it has been less than three weeks since he was asked to comment on a Jersey City shooting and “Jewish blood is once again on the ground here in the New York area.
“This heinous deed took place during the kindling of the Hanukkah Menorah,” said Brook. “Just as hatred could not dampen the Jewish spirit thousands of years ago in the age of the Maccabees, the light of the menorah will defeat this current darkness. We call upon every person of good will to fight hatred with love, darkness with light. And together, we will come to see a time where the darkness will be defeated forever.”
Thomas was arraigned Sunday, Dec. 29, and pleaded not guilty to five counts of attempted murder and one count of burglary.