Brother of Rabbi Stabbed in Boston Says ‘Can’t See How It Wasn’t’ Antisemitic Attack: ‘He Only Wanted to Harm and Kill Him’
A 24-year-old man charged with stabbing a Boston rabbi was scheduled to appear in court on Friday afternoon, following his arrest on charges of assault and battery by means of a dangerous weapon and assault and battery on a police officer.
Khaled Awad was arraigned at the District Court in Brighton, Massachusetts. He was arrested shortly after the attack outside the Shaloh House school on Chestnut Hill Avenue on Thursday afternoon.
Shlomo Noginski, a rabbi and teacher at Shaloh House, was attacked by Awad by outside the school. Investigators said Awad approached Rabbi Noginski on Thursday afternoon, pointed a gun at him, and told him to open his van. The rabbi gave him the key, but there was an ensuing struggle. Noginski was stabbed eight times in the arm as he tried to run to Brighton Common, the park across the street.
Noginski was rushed to Boston Medical Center where he spent the night recovering. He was released early Friday morning. While police have not yet issued any details regarding Awad’s motive, the New England office of the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) observed that certain facts were “emerging” that included “multiple indicators pointing towards antisemitism.”
Noginski’s brother, Benzion Laskin, told The Algemeiner on Friday that he was in no doubt regarding the antisemitic nature of the attack.
“I can’t see how it wasn’t,” Laskin said. “He didn’t try to get money, to get anything — he only wanted to harm and kill him.”
“He tried to stab him in the stomach but my brother was able to fight back. I don’t understand what’s taking the authorities so long to determine,” he added.
Community leaders including Boston’s mayor gathered on Brighton Common on Friday morning for a rally to counter hatred.
“Hate won’t divide us,” Kim Janey, Mayor of Boston, declared. “This is July 4 weekend, when we celebrate our independence and freedom. We all deserve the opportunity to live freely, and that is certainly true for our Jewish brothers and sisters.”
Shira Goodman, the head of Combined Jewish Philanthropies, Boston, delivered a powerful set of remarks affirming the the importance of Jewish identity and communal security.
“The brutal stabbing of Rabbi Noginski was an act of hate and darkness,” Goodman stated, stressing that “this attack happened at a school where parents bring their most precious children.”
Goodman said that the Shaloh House school “is a shining example of the best of Jewish life.”
She continued: “This attack intends to scare us away from Jewish life, but it’s not gonna work. We will continue to lead a Jewish life, attend our synagogues and schools, and continue our important work to rid our great country of hatred and violence towards minorities, including the Jewish community.”
The attack on Noginski revived calls from US Jewish leaders for greater action at state and federal levels to counter the growing surge of antisemitic violence around the country.
“We have repeatedly asked federal and state elected leaders to do more to combat and deter the ongoing wave of antisemitism. There are steps they can — and must — take immediately to better protect American Jews,” Nathan Diament, director for public for policy at the Orthodox Union (OU), said in a statement.
Steps urged by Diament included, “at the federal level, dramatically increasing funding for the Nonprofit Security Grant Program; passing legislation such as the bipartisan ‘Pray Safe Act of 2021’ that would establish a clearinghouse on safety and security for faith-based organizations; and filling the post of State Department Special Envoy to Combat Antisemitism and other key government posts with responsibility for combatting antisemitic hate crimes.”