NEW YORK — An Orthodox man was stabbed multiple times early on Wednesday morning in close proximity to a synagogue in Spring Valley, New York.
According to reports in local media, the man was approaching the Toshnad Heichel Torah Utfila Synagogue when a man got out of a car and began beating him and stabbed him. The assailant fled the scene before police and first responders arrived, according to Aaron Hershkowitz, an assistant to the synagogue’s rabbi.
Rockland Hatzolah, an emergency medical service, reached the victim and began treating him. He is now undergoing surgery and is in critical condition, Hershkowitz said.
“Upon arrival it was quickly determined that the individual had been stabbed and slashed with an unknown weapon and not struck by a vehicle,” read a statement from the Town of Ramapo Police Department. “Investigation confirms that the victim who was walking to synagogue was stabbed more than once by at least one individual in the street.”
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The stabbing has not yet been classified as a suspected hate crime, but the Anti-Defamation League’s New York regional director Evan Bernstein told Haaretz it has “clearly shaken the community, based on conversations with leadership in the area.”
“We hope that Police and elected officials figure out the best course of action to alleviate fears in the community,” he added. “If this was in fact a bias stabbing, it is one of the worst anti-semitic assaults.”
Bernstein said the ADL is “very concerned” but waiting to get more information on the attack. The organization was able to confirm the victim is a teacher.
The organization later issued a statement offering a $10,000 reward for any information leading to the arrest or conviction of the suspects.
"There is absolutely no room in our communities for violence," Bernstein said in a statement. "We must come together and stand shoulder to shoulder, not only to condemn this despicable act, but also work as a community to stem the tide of hatred and violence."
"We hope this reward facilitates the swift apprehension of those responsible for the attack," the statement concluded.
Some local residents of Rockland County, home to about 100,000 Jews according to The New York Times, have recently objected to the presence of a growing Orthodox Jewish population, prompting accusations of anti-Semitism. In August, a county Republican Party ad accused Hasidic Jews of “plotting a takeover.”