The ADL took these photos of the scene of the Monsey stabbing attack.
Multiple people were stabbed by a machete-wielding attacker at a Monsey, New York rabbi’s home during Hanukkah celebrations in the Forshay neighborhood, which is located in Rockland County, New York, according to a local Jewish public affairs council and CBS New York. The Jerusalem Post reported that the attack occurred at what is called Rabbi Rottenberg’s Shul.
Ramapo police chief Brad Weidel said in a press conference that five people were stabbed at the residence.
NYPD Counterterrorim wrote on Twitter: “We are closely monitoring the reports of multiple people stabbed at a synagogue in Monsey, NY (Rockland County).”
Authorities now say the NYPD has located the vehicle and possible suspect in the Bronx. They also confirmed that the five victims are at area hospitals. The rabbi is named Rabbi Chaim Leib Rottenberg.
CBS New York reported that a man entered the Shul and stabbed multiple people with a machete during a Chanukah celebration. According to the television station, the suspect chased people out of the home before fleeing in a car. Other reports say there are at least five victims, however.
The Orthodox Jews Public Affairs Council located in the area wrote on Twitter: “At 9:50 this eve, a call came in about a mass stabbing at 47 Forshay Road in Monsey (Rockland County; 30 miles North of NYC). It’s the house of a Hasidic Rabbi. 5 patients with stab wounds, all Hasidic, were transported to local hospitals.”
The Council added: “2 of the victims of the attack were taken into hospital as critical. The perp’s face was partially covered with a scarf but skin showed him to be an African American. One of the victims was stabbed at least 6 times. The fifth/least severe case had a cut in his hand. Perp left in a vehicle…a Gray Nissan Sentra.” The New York Times reported that the knife attack occurred in the home of an “ultra-Orthodox rabbi.”
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Disturbing Videos Showed the Chaos at the Scene & Victims on Stretchers
“On this sixth night of Hanukkah, five people were stabbed during a menorah lighting at a synagogue in Monsey, Rockland County. A man walked in and started stabbing people with a machete,” wrote Mack Rosenberg of WCBS 880.
Disturbing videos posted to Twitter showed victims on stretchers and chaos at the scene. You can see some of those videos throughout this article, but be aware that they are very disturbing. The reports are preliminary and were just breaking on the evening of December 28, 2019. ABC 7 reported that the rabbi’s home is located next door “to his congregation.”
ADL New York/New Jersey wrote, “Aware of reports of a stabbing in Monsey, NY at a synagogue. We are on the way to the scene to gather more information and coordinate with law enforcement.”
Dov Hikind, former New York State Assemblyman, wrote on Twitter: “This is a developing story. Multiple stabbing victims in Monsey, Jews targeted AGAIN. An attack on one Jew, is an attack on all Jews. We are in route to the scene to be there to stand with the community and to do whatever we can to be of assistance.”
Rockland Bluff, a site on Twitter devoted to emergency calls in Rockland County, wrote, “Four people transported to the hospital one serious. PD doing one last perimeter check to see if there are any more patients. Advising EMS units to standby still.”
The videos showed a massive law enforcement response to the scene. Authorities have not yet confirmed the details.
2. Unconfirmed Reports Say a Suspect Pulled Out a Machete With a Cover Before Stabbing People
The suspect “entered Rabbi Rottenburg’s Shul, located in the Forshay neighborhood in Monsey, and pulled out a machete. He pulled off the cover and stabbed at least 3 people. One of the victims was stabbed in the chest,” reported Vos Iz Neias.com.
A man wrote on Twitter, “A man with machete just went into a synagogue not far from my house and started stabbing people. Prayers to those wounded. Reports are that the suspect is still on the loose.”
Authorities have not confirmed those details.
Motti Seligson, director of media for Chabad, reported that people at the synagogue “were gathered for a Hanukkah celebration.” He also wrote, “I’m hearing two men walked into Rabbi Rottenberg’s home where a menorah lighting ceremony was taking place and stabbed five people. They tried moving to the ajoining synagogue but the people there barricaded the door. They fled in a silver car.”
Be aware that there are often conflicting reports in the earliest stages of such tragedies.
Monsey is a hamlet and census-designated place that is located in the town of Ramapo, Rockland County.
3. The Area Has the Largest Jewish Population in New York State & Was Previously the Site of a Stabbing
According to The New York Times, Rockland County’s roughly 320,000 residents are about 31 percent Jewish, which is the largest Jewish population per capita of any New York county.
Previously, an Orthodox Jewish man was stabbed as he walked to a Monsey synagogue, The Times reported in November 2019.
Earlier in the day on December 28, Governor Andrew Cuomo tweeted about a different attack, writing, “I am disgusted to learn of the attack on three members of our Jewish community in Brooklyn on Friday—the 6th anti-Semitic incident in NYC just this week. The cowards responsible are trying to spread fear, but they will always fail. NY stands united against anti-Semitism & hate.” The Jersey City mass shooting at a Kosher supermarket has also left the Jewish community shaken.
4. New York’s Attorney General Declared Herself ‘Deeply Disturbed’ by the Monsey Attack
Three Jews stabbed in a synagogue in Monsey tonight. An intruder came into Rabbi Rottenberg’s shul with a machete.
“I am deeply disturbed by the situation unfolding in Monsey, New York tonight,” New York’s Attorney General Letitia James wrote on Twitter.
“There is zero tolerance for acts of hate of any kind and we will continue to monitor this horrific situation. I stand with the Jewish community tonight and every night.”
The Rockland County Executive also condemned the attack.
Mark D. Levine, New York City Councilman, wrote, “There have been NINE anti-Semitic attacks in NYC in the past week. And now this horror tonight just outside the city, in Monsey. This is a full blown crisis. None of what we are doing is good enough.”
5. People Expressed Heartbreak on Social Media
People took to social media to express their heartbreak over yet another attack.
“my hurt is BROKEN for the jewish people. my thoughts and prayers are going out for every person hurt by the events at monsey shul tonight,” wrote one woman. “im at a loss for words, but this is disgusting. no one should have to fear for their life just because they are practicing their faith.”
Another woman wrote, “Pray for Monsey. There are terrified families all over this nation right now and we need to say enough is enough. Antisemitism is an evil. A stain.”
This post is being updated as more is known about the stabbing attack.