Fall out continues from the religious attack on a synagogue in New York City. Josef Neumann remains unconscious four days after the attack, with a best-case recovery scenario including permanent brain damage and paralysis.
An Orthodox Jewish man hacked viciously by a machete-swinging anti-Semite will likely remain brain-damaged and paralyzed for life — even if he somehow regains consciousness, his heartbroken family said Wednesday.
Josef Neumann, patriarch to a family of seven children, many grandkids and one great-grandchild, “was severely stabbed multiple times during the mass attack,” read the three-paragraph statement. “The knife penetrated his skull directly into his brain. He also suffered three cuts to the head, one cut to the neck, and his right arm is shattered.”
The horribly-injured victim remained unresponsive Wednesday as his family hopes against hope for some good news that now appears to be a longshot.
At this point, doctors “are not optimistic about his chances to regain consciousness,” the statement said. “Our father’s status is so dire that no surgery has yet been performed on his right arm.”
Neumann, 70, was one of five victims wounded when suspect Grafton Thomas, his face obscured by a scarf, burst into a Chanukah celebration in Monsey, N.Y. with an 18-inch blade to unleash his hate-fueled bile Saturday, authorities said.
A hospital photo released by the family showed Neumann hooked up to a ventilator, with two thick ridges of sutures rising from his skull. Irreversible brain damage, with partial paralysis and speech impairment for the rest of his life, appears to be the best possible outcome for him, the family said.
Neumann’s family released the deeply disturbing photo to illustrate “the gravity of hate” for the world and the Jewish community, said Yossi Gestetner, co-founder of the Orthodox Jewish Public Affairs Council.
“These things are vividly and viciously disturbing and have long-term consequences,” he added.
Thomas, 37, of Greenwood Lake, N.Y., spent New Year’s Day behind bars on $5 million bail for the hate crime inside a rabbi’s home where families were gathered for the seventh day of Chanukah.
“No one is leaving,” he told the terrified celebrants inside Rabbi Chaim Rottenberg’s home before the carnage began.
Another one of the victims lost a finger to the machete before heroic Hasid Joseph Gluck drove Thomas out of the home by flinging a coffee table at him.
Thomas was arrested about two hours later in Harlem. Authorities recovered an anti-Semitic journal at the suspect’s home following the horrifying attack.
The Neumann family, in the wake of a recent spate of attacks targeting Jews, encouraged victims from around the world to go public with their stories of hate crimes. The NYPD recorded 227 bias crimes against Jewish victims this year through Dec. 29, an increase from 185 over the same period in 2018.
“Please share on social media (your) own experiences with anti-Semitism and add the hashtag #MeJew,” the family wrote. “We shall not let this terrible hate-driven attack be forgotten, and let us all work to eradicate all sorts of hate.”
Gov. Cuomo, during a visit to Brooklyn’s Orthodox Jewish neighborhood of Williamsburg, announced Wednesday afternoon that he was directing state police to step up their patrols and security in Jewish enclaves across New York state.
“Everybody feels very upset and disturbed about what happened, and everybody stands in solidarity with you,” Cuomo told Rabbi David Niederman of the United Jewish Organization of Williamsburg. “So I’m here today not just for me — I’m representing all of the people of the State of New York … they stand with you in total solidarity and love, because that’s what we are.”
Yet shortly after the governor’s visit, an Orthodox man was attacked in the same neighborhood by two women screaming anti-Semitic epithets — the latest hate crime to shock the city.
“F— you Jew! I will kill you Jew!” one of the women screamed as they chased the 22-year-old victim near Broadway and Gerry St. in Williamsburg around 12:40 p.m., according to cops.
Both women, ages 24 and 34, were taken into custody at the corner of Broadway and Rutledge Sts. with charges pending. The victim was taken to NYU Langone Health — Cobble Hill for treatment, police said.
Mayor de Blasio said officers from the NYPD’s Strategic Response Group would be dispatched to Jewish communities starting Wednesday night.
“NYPD has enhanced patrol presence in Jewish communities. Starting tonight, additional officers from the Strategic Response Group, the same highly trained unit that helped keep New Yorkers safe in Times Square last night, will be on the streets,” he tweeted.