Photo Credit: Courtesy
Rabbi Josef Neumann

Rabbi Josef Neumann, who was critically injured from a machete attack at a Chanukah party in Monsey, Rockland County, NY, died on Sunday at age 72.

On Saturday night, December 28, 2019, the seventh night of Chanukah, a masked African-American man wielding a machete invaded the home of Rabbi Chaim Rottenberg in Monsey, and began stabbing the rabbi’s guests. Five people were wounded, two were in critical condition. The guests threw chairs and a table at the assailant, who fled the scene.

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The suspect’s car was spotted on the George Washington Bridge two hours later, and the driver, Grafton Thomas, 37, was taken into custody by the NYPD. He was arraigned in Rockland County court. The charges against him are expected to be elevated to murder in the 2nd degree.

NYS Governor Renames Domestic Terror Hate Crime Law for Josef Neumann
In a statement issued Monday, New York State Government Andrew Cuomo expressed his sadness upon learning of the rabbi’s passing. He said in the statement the morning after the attack that he went to Rabbi Rottenberg’s home and apologized on behalf of “the family of New York, and promised him we would enact a first-in-the nation law that calls this hate what it is: domestic terrorism.”

The governor went on to say, “I am going to rename this legislation in honor of Mr. Neumann, and I am calling on the state legislature to pass it in the budget due April 1. We owe it to Mr. Neumann, his family and the entire family of New York to get it done now.”

The governor has renamed the bill, the “Josef Neumann Hate Crimes Domestic Terrorism Act.”

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