I flew home yesterday after a week away. The first news I saw was this stabbing attack on a Hanukah party at a Rabbi’s home in Monsey, New York. Police have arrested 37 year old Thomas Grafton, an African American man from Greenwood Lake, about twenty miles northwest of Monsey. Monsey hosts a large enclave of ultra-orthodox, or Hasidic, people — so people who are very visibly Jewish. According to this 2012 Times article, Monsey has the highest concentration of ultra-orthodox anywhere in the world outside of Brooklyn and Israel. Other than being an apparent hate crime, it’s not clear whether the attack was tied to a particular ideology, as seems to have been the case in the multiple fatality attack earlier this month in Jersey City, or a more individual hatred of Jews. But if Grafton was in Greenwood Lake and wanted to attack Jews Monsey would be the logical and closest place to go.
Five were stabbed but none died. The current condition of the victims is not clear.
This comes after a wave of anti-Semitic attacks and vandalism in the Greater New York area. As CNN enumerates here, there was an anti-Semitic attack of some sort every day for the last week in the New York area.
What is in some ways more ominous is that the attacks don’t appear to be coordinated. Clearly there’s some level of copy-catting. But it appears spontaneous, uncoordinated and growing.