Family says Rockland stabbing victim may never regain consciousness, releases graphic photo to show horror of anti-Semitism

Adam Warner
January 01, 2020 - 12:07 pm

Seth Harrison, The Journal News/ USA TODAY Network, Rockland/Westchester Journal News via Imagn Content Services, LLC


(Warning: A photo included below in this story is graphic).

NEW YORK (1010 WINS) – The family of the most seriously wounded victim of the machete attack at a Hanukkah party in Rockland County says he may never regain consciousness—and they released a graphic image of him in his hospital bed to illustrate the horror of anti-Semitism.

“This is the visual state of Josef Neumann who has been stabbed at the Hanukkah celebration Saturday night,” tweeted the Orthodox Jewish Public Affairs Council (OJPAC), along with the photo below.  The photograph shows an intubated Neumann with a swollen and disfigured face lying in a hospital bed. A gash to his head appears to have been stitched up.

In a statement, Neumann’s family says the 71-year-old father of seven may never regain consciousness, and that if he does, he will have permanent brain damage. They say the machete went through his skull and that his right arm was “shattered.”

“Our father's status is so dire that no surgery has yet been performed on the right arm,” the statement said. “Doctors are not optimistic about his chances to regain consciousness, and if our father does miraculously recover partially, doctors expect that he will have permanent damage to the brain, leaving him partially paralyzed and speech-impaired for the rest of his life.”

Monsey stabbing
AP Photo/Julius Constantine Motal

Yossi Gestetner, the co-founder and spokesman for OJPAC, told 1010 WINS Wednesday that the picture was released because the family wanted people to see what hatred can do. They also wanted people to know that long after the attack, families and victims will continue to deal with the pain.

 “The family members felt there is a need for people inside the Jewish community and the population at large to fully comprehend the seriousness of the situation,” Gestetner said. “People understand that this isn’t just a story that happened and people move on. It’s a very critical situation and something that will certainly have long-term effects.”

Gestetner said the aim of releasing the photo is two-fold: “Number one—for people to understand the gravity of the situation and continue praying for him. And the second part is when people see the gravity of the situation, to understand that it is time to take steps to stop all types of hate.”

Along with the photo, OJPAC urged “fellow Jews across the U.S. and around the globe to please share on social media their own experiences with anti-Semitism and add the hashtag #MeJew.”

“We shall not let this terrible hate-driven attack be forgotten, and let us all work to eradicate all sorts of hate,” the group wrote.

The four other people who were stabbed in Saturday night’s attack, among them the rabbi’s 25-year-old son, have since been released from the hospital.

The accused attacker is being held on a $5 million bail. He faces five counts of attempted murder and five counts of federal hate crimes. This week prosecutors revealed that he expressed anti-Semitism in journals he kept and had recently used his phone to look up information on Hitler and the location of synagogues.

The Hanukkah attack came amid a string of violence that has alarmed Jews in the region, including a shooting at a kosher market in Jersey City that killed three people in addition to a police officer and various street attacks on Jewish people in New York City, particularly Brooklyn.

Former New York State Assemblyman Dov Hikind said he recently spoke with an Orthodox Jewish man in New York who told him he had taken off his yarmulke out of fear.

“Part of what we're trying to get across to people is that these attacks are not just statistics,” said Hikind, founder of Americans Against Antisemitism. “These people have to live with this the rest of their life.”

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