Proposed New York Hate Crimes Law Named in Memory of Rabbi Murdered in Monsey Attack
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has renamed a proposed domestic terrorism law after the late rabbi who was stabbed during an attack on a Hanukkah celebration in Monsey.
Rabbi Josef Neumann, 72, had gone into a coma after suffering a head injury on Dec. 28 at the hands of a man who burst in on a Hanukkah celebration and began slashing attendees with a machete. He passed away on Sunday, three months after the outrage.
Cuomo said that the “Josef Neumann Hate Crimes Domestic Terrorism Act” would reclassify certain hate crimes so they carry a life sentence without parole. He urged the New York state legislature to pass the measure in its budget on Wednesday, April 1.
“We owe it to Mr. Neumann, his family and the entire family of New York to get it done now,” Cuomo said in a statement on Monday.
Neumann’s attacker, Grafton Thomas, 37, was charged with attempted murder — which could now be upgraded to murder — and pled not guilty to federal hate crimes charges in January.
Thomas’s attack on the celebration in Monsey capped a string of incidents in which Jews were physically attacked or accosted in the New York metropolitan area — including a Dec. 10 shooting at a kosher supermarket in New Jersey that left two members of the Hasidic community dead.
Neumann is survived by seven children, many grandchildren, a great-grandchild and several siblings.
One of Neumann’s close friends described him as “one of the most selfless people I knew” and an “incredibly kind human being.”