By Christopher White and Emily Drooby
NEW YORK — New Year’s Day began with yet another local anti-Semitic attack, when a 22-year-old Hasidic man was beaten and subjected to hate speech in Williamsburg — the 13th known attack against Jews in the New York area in less than 10 days.
The violence on Jan. 1 followed the Hanukah attack at the home of a rabbi in Monsey, N.Y., where five people were stabbed in an incident that Gov. Andrew Cuomo labeled as “domestic terrorism.”
Family members of one of the victims of that attack, Josef Neumann, released a graphic photo on Jan. 1 of the father of seven children hooked up to respirators and stitched up from the multiple stab wounds he incurred. Doctors expect Neumann to be permanently paralyzed and are unsure if he will ever regain consciousness.
In response to the heinous attack, Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio said, “Hate like this has no place in a civil society.”
“Today we are reminded it is better to light one candle than to curse the darkness. Let us be that light as we pray for peace and practice tolerance today and always,” Bishop DiMarzio continued in a statement.
Bishop DiMarzio also joined more than 130 faith leaders from across the state, including New York Cardinal Timothy Dolan, to condemn the attack.
“Anti-Semitism, bigotry and hate of any kind are repugnant to our values and will not be tolerated in our state,” they said. “An attack against one of us is an attack against all of us. Together we will continue fighting hate and intolerance with love and inclusion.”
The recent attacks in New York come at a time when people of faith are facing increased violence at houses of worship across the nation.
According to the latest data from the Federal Bureau of Investigations, hate crimes in churches, synagogues, temples and mosques have risen 34.8 percent between 2014 and 2018.
On Dec. 29, in Texas, a gunman fatally shot two churchgoers at West Freeway Church of Christ in White Settlement, before being killed by a security guard on-site.
The past year proved particularly deadly for people of all faiths across the globe. Incidents included the Easter Day massacres in Sri Lanka that killed more than 250 people and attacks at two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand, last March that killed 51 individuals.
In recent days, New York has ramped up security around houses of worship, and the governor has ordered increased patrolling efforts in Orthodox Jewish neighborhoods throughout the state.
On New Year’s Day, Cuomo visited Williamsburg to stand in solidarity with the community there.
“The Jewish community is very important to me personally. It’s been very important to my family for many years,” Cuomo said.
“Everybody feels very upset and disturbed about what happened and everybody stands in solidarity with you,” he continued. “So I’m here today, not just for me, I’m here representing all the people of the state of New York who want to say they’re sorry about the tragedy, and they stand with you in total solidarity and love, because that’s what we are.”