One of five people stabbed during a Hanukkah celebration at a rabbi’s suburban New York City home in December has died.
Yosef Neumann, 72, who had been in a coma since the Dec. 28 attack, died Sunday evening, the Orthodox Jewish Public Affairs Council said on Twitter.
He suffered a fractured skull and other injuries after a man armed with a machete burst into the home in Monsey, north of Manhattan, and began slashing people during the festivities.
Four others, all Hasidic Jews, were hurt. Neumann was the most seriously injured victim, authorities said. The others reportedly have since been released from hospitals.
The accused assailant, Grafton E. Thomas, of Greenwood Lake, New York, has been charged with attempted murder and various hate crimes. He has pleaded not guilty. He likely will now face an additional charge of murder.
A rise in anti-Semitic incidents in the New York and New Jersey areas late last year prompted state and local authorities to increase police presence in several Orthodox Jewish neighborhoods.
Neumann’s friends and family said they continued to pray for his recovery until the end.
“We were hoping when he started to open his eyes,” Rabbi Yisroel Kahan told the Rockland Journal News. “We were hoping and praying he would then pull through. This is so very sad he was killed celebrating Hanukkah with friends just because he was a Jew.”
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, responding to news of Neumann’s death, said he planned to honor Neumann’s memory by renaming state legislation that would declare certain hate crimes acts of domestic terrorism: “the Josef Neumann Hate Crimes Domestic Terrorism Act.”
“White supremacists, anti-Semites, anti-LGBTQ, white nationalists ― these are Americans committing mass hate crimes against other Americans, and the punishment for their vile acts must fit their crimes,” Cuomo said of the measure he urged the state legislature to pass on April 1.