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After an attack on his Hanukkah celebration, a rabbi moved the event to his synagogue

Five people were taken to hospitals after a suspect entered a Rabbi's home in Monsey, New York and began stabbing people, according to police and witnesses.

Posted: Dec 31, 2019 5:40 AM
Updated: Dec 31, 2019 5:40 AM

After a suspect stabbed five people at a Hanukkah gathering in suburban New York, a rabbi resumed the celebrations at a synagogue next door.

The Orthodox Jewish Public Affairs Council shared footage of Rabbi Chaim Rottenberg leading a room full of celebrants in rousing song after the event at his home was interrupted by the attack.

Attendees were members of Monsey's Hasidic Jewish community, a subgroup of Orthodox Judaism.

When the event resumed, the council said, the people there chanted, "The grace of God did not end and his mercy did not leave us."

Yossi Gestetner, co-founder of the Orthodox Jewish Public Affairs Council, confirmed the footage showed Rabbi Rottenberg, who moved the event to his congregation, Netzach Yisroel.

"He continued the event to show for his members and the public that attacks will not deter Hasidism from living freely in the US," he told CNN.

In a statement on behalf of Rottenberg, Netzach Yisroel secretary Naftali Silberberg said the rabbi had been leading Melave Malka, a weekly meal shared after the Sabbath, punctuated by singing and dancing.

The people who attended the second event after the attack declared their gratitude for the lives saved with the message, "We will persevere," Silberberg said.

Suspect faces hate crime charges

The stabbings marked a violent end to a week full of attacks involving Jewish New Yorkers.

The New York Police Department is investigating eight incidents over the last week as possible anti-Semitic hate crimes.

On Monday, federal prosecutors filed hate crime charges against Grafton Thomas for his suspected role in the stabbing.

Police said Thomas entered the rabbi's home, where at least 100 people had gathered for the seventh night of Hanukkah, and told everyone there that "no one was leaving" before stabbing and slashing several people.

Five people were hospitalized with serious injuries, including a severed finger, slash wounds and deep lacerations. One victims remains in critical condition with a skull fracture, according to a complaint filed by federal prosecutors with the Southern District of New York.

Thomas' attorney, Michael Sussman, said there was nothing in their conversations that confirmed his client was a domestic terrorist or expressed anti-Semitic views.

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