Monsey: ECAJ voices its support and suspect’s family says he is “mentally ill”

December 31, 2019 by J-Wire Staff
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The Executive Council of Australian Jewry has voiced its support to New York Jewish communities as Grafton Thomas’s family claims he is mentally i;;


Police monitor the aftermath of a stabbing attack at the home of Rabbi Chaim L. Rottenberg in the Forshay neighbourhood in Monsey, N.Y., on Dec. 28, the seventh night of Hanukkah. Source: Screenshot.

ECAJ’s co-CEO Alex Ryvchin stated: “We are horrified by the brutal attack on members of the Jewish community in Monsey, New York, who had gathered at the home of a rabbi to mark the festival of Chanukah. We stand in complete solidarity with the community of Monsey and Jewish communities throughout New York State who have been subjected to an unprecedented surge in lethal attacks, assaults, and appalling public harassment. We pray for the swift recoveries of the wounded and expect that the authorities will take all necessary measures to protect the Jewish community in these distressing times.”

Grafton Thomas has been charged with stabbing five people at Rabbi Rottenberg’s Shul in Monsey, N.Y., at a Chanukah candle-lighting party on Dec. 28, 2019. Source: Screenshot.

The suspect behind the machete attack on Saturday night at a home and prayer hall known as Rabbi Rottenberg’s Shul in Monsey, N.Y., slashing and injuring five of the around 100 celebrants at a Hanukkah candle-lighting party, is mentally ill, according to his family.

“Grafton Thomas has a long history of mental illness and hospitalizations,” said his family in a statement on Sunday night. “He has no history of like violent acts and no convictions for any crime. He has no known history of antisemitism and was raised in a home which embraced and respected all religions and races. He is not a member of any hate groups.”

Thomas, 37, was charged with five counts of attempted murder and one count of burglary.

His bail was set to $5 million and he is being held at Rockland County Jail.

The Dec. 28 attack was the latest in a streak of 13 antisemitic incidents since Dec. 8, according to New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio.

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