Stabbing Attack at Monsey Hanukkah Party Leaves Five Injured

  • December 30, 2019
monsey attack

Photo credit: Allyse Pulliam/Associated Press

A Hanukkah party on December 28, 2019 in Monsey, New York, was shattered when a man entered a local rabbi’s home armed with a large knife and began stabbing people. The attack left five injured, one critically.

The following day, police in Ramapo, New York, charged Grafton Thomas of Greenwood Lake, New York, with five counts of attempted murder and one count of burglary. Thomas pleaded not guilty at his December 29 arraignment.

On Monday, December 30, federal prosecutors filed hate crimes charges against Thomas, and authorities released a criminal complaint that may provide insight into the motivation for Thomas’s Saturday night attack. While searching Thomas’s home, police found handwritten anti-Semitic messages, a cryptic mention of Black Hebrew Israelites, references to Hitler and “Nazi Culture” and sketches of a swastika and a Star of David. He also reportedly used his phone to search for local “Zionist temples” and “German Jewish temples near me.”

According to police and media reports, Thomas entered the home on Saturday just before 10 pm, screaming, “I’ll get you.”  It is alleged that he fled the scene after stabbing multiple people but was apprehended two hours later in Harlem, reportedly covered in blood and smelling of bleach.

The attack began just as the rabbi was preparing to light the menorah to mark the seventh night of Hanukkah. Monsey, a hamlet in Rockland County, outside New York City, is home to a significant Jewish population. This is the second attack in Monsey in as many months; in November, an Orthodox Jewish man was beaten and stabbed as he walked to his synagogue.

This is just the latest in a spate of anti-Semitic attacks in New York and New Jersey. Just three weeks ago, an anti-Semitic shooting in Jersey City, New Jersey, left three civilians and a police detective dead.

In December 2019, ADL recorded more than a dozen incidents in which Jews were threatened, harassed and/or physically assaulted in New York and New Jersey.

Brooklyn, New York, December 27, 2019:

A man walked into the Chabad Lubavitch World Headquarters in Crown Heights and threatened to kill Jews. Police are still looking for the suspect.

Brooklyn, New York, December 27, 2019:

Tiffany Harris faces 21 menacing, harassment and attempted assault charges after she allegedly shouted “FU Jews” and slapped three women in the face because she believed they were Jewish.

Brooklyn, New York, December 26, 2019:

Police charged Ayana Logan with assault as a hate crime after she allegedly yelled anti-Semitic slurs at an Orthodox woman walking with a small child in Sheepshead Bay. Logan also reportedly hit the woman in the face with a bag.

Brooklyn, New York, December 25, 2019:

An Orthodox Jewish man was walking home in Borough Park when an individual blocked his path and punched him in the face. The victim reportedly suffered a laceration to his lip.

Teaneck, New Jersey, December 25, 2019:

A man entered a kosher bagel shop yelling anti-Semitic slurs. An altercation took place with a shoving a match and a victim was scratched in the face. A suspect was identified, but may have mental health issues.

Brooklyn, New York, December 24, 2019:

A group of men cursed and shouted anti-Semitic slurs at a man walking on Kingston Avenue in Crown Heights. When the man started recording the group with his cellphone, one individual threw a drink at him. The victim was not injured.

Brooklyn, New York, December 24, 2019:

Surveillance footage shows a 56-year-old Orthodox Jewish man falling to the ground after being punched in the back of the head during an attack by four people who fled the scene.

Brooklyn, New York, December 23, 2019:

A group of teenagers allegedly approached two young children (ages 6 and 7) from behind and physically attacked them in the lobby of a residential building in Williamsburg.

New York, New York, December 23, 2019:

Steven Jorge of Miami was charged with assault and harassment as a hate crime after he allegedly punched and kicked a 65-year-old man wearing a yarmulke near Manhattan’s Grand Central Station.

New York, New York, December 12, 2019:

Zarinah Ali was charged with assault after an anti-Semitic tirade on the New York City subway in Manhattan. Ali allegedly verbally assaulted two Jewish people and praised the shooting attack at the Jersey City kosher market. A female victim posted images showing minor injuries to her face, which she said occurred during the altercation.

Jersey City, New Jersey, December 10, 2019:

David N. Anderson and Francine Graham allegedly shot and killed Jersey City Police Detective Joseph Seals after he approached them in a local cemetery. The perpetrators then drove through Jersey City before stopping outside the JC Kosher Supermarket and allegedly firing shots into the store, killing three people and injuring another. The alleged assailants then barricaded themselves inside the store before being shot and killed during a gunfight with police, which also left two officers wounded.

Lawrence, New York, December 8, 2019:

A Jewish man shopping at Costco was called a “fucking Jew” by another customer, who also told him, “the Nazis will fucking kill you.”

Brooklyn, New York, December 2, 2019:

A Jewish woman was verbally harassed and referred to as “the fucking Jew with the wig” while waiting on a Crown Heights subway platform.