“Has it become too dangerous for openly religious Jewish men to walk the streets of NYC?”
The question was asked in a tweet Tuesday by New York City Council member Chaim Deutsch of Brooklyn, after a 64-year-old rabbi was viciously assaulted in a Crown Heights neighborhood park earlier in the day while out for a morning walk.
Rabbi Avraham Gopin, father-in-law of Hasidic singer Benny Friedman, was walking in scenic Rochester Park when a man suddenly starting yelling at him, and then began to chase him with a huge granite brick.
“My FIL says there was no question this man had murder on his mind. My father in law tried to defend himself,” Friedman wrote in a tweet.
“This is absolutely frightening and obviously something that a civilization should never tolerate,” he added in a follow up tweet.
Disturbing images of victim’s bloodied clothing after being brutally attacked with a brick. Chassidic victim still hospitalized with broken nose and teeth knocked out. @NYPD77Pct @NYPDHateCrimes investigating. pic.twitter.com/rBcuCZMrCI
— Yaacov Behrman (@ChabadLubavitch) August 27, 2019
Gopin, a dual Israeli-American citizen, was hospitalized with “a broken nose, missing teeth, stitches on his head and lacerations on his body,” according to Friedman’s post on Twitter. The rabbi fought back, and other people in the park came to the rabbi’s rescue, helping to save his life from the attacker.
The NYPD Hate Crimes Unit is investigating the attack.
A 64 year old Jewish man was violently assaulted in Rochester Park in Crown Heights. THIS is the weapon that was used against him.
— Councilman Deutsch (@ChaimDeutsch) August 27, 2019
“Thank G-d, all things considered, my father in law is doing ok,” Friedman tweeted later on Tuesday. “We need safer communities. Where I come from in Minnesota, this would be front page headlines. But here in Brooklyn, this is just the latest event.”
A reward of up to $5,000 is being offered by the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the assailant.
Wednesday morning, however, the rabbi was back in the park, Friedman tweeted. “He refuses to be afraid, and he will not let evil or hate determine how he lives his life. L’chaim!”