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Hanukkah Stabbing Victim Dies Three Months After Machete Attack

Josef Neumann
Josef Neumann Photo Credit: Rabbi Yisroel Kahan Twitter

The man who has been struggling for life since a machete attack at a rabbi's home in the area this past December has died from his injuries.

Rabbi Yisroel Kahan of Monsey said on Sunday, March 29, that the family had been holding out hope he would improve, but Josef Neuman, 72, died on Sunday.

"With great sadness, we mourn the passing of Josef Neuman at the age of 72, who succumbed to injuries sustained during the #MonseyStabbing while celebrating Chanukah on December 28th," Kahan said on Twitter. "May his memory be a blessing."

Neumann was one of five men attacked with a machete at the home of Rabbi Chaim Rottenberg in Monsey, allegedly by 37-year-old Grafton Thomas of Orange County.

Thomas has been charged with 14 separate charges by a Rockland County grand jury, including six attempted murder counts. Neumann's death will likely lead to a murder county.

In addition to the machete attack, Thomas is also a suspect in another attack on a Jewish man on his way to a synagogue in Nov. 2019.

His family says he suffers from severe mental illness and has been hospitalized several times this year. He has been examined by several psychologists, but a Rockland judge has not ruled on whether he is competent to stand trial. 

According to a criminal complaint filed in federal court in White Plains on Monday, Dec. 30, Thomas allegedly entered the rabbi's home with his face was covered in what appeared to be a scarf and said: "no one is leaving."

He then took out the machete and started stabbing and slashing people in the rabbi's home, the complaint said.

The group fought back by throwing furniture and hitting Thomas with anything they could find.

Josef Neuman was reportedly hit in the head with the machete and has been struggling to survive since the attack.

Normally, under Orthodox Jewish tradition, burial takes place within 24 hours in a plain wood casket with hundreds of family and worshippers filling the streets.

Traffic and crowd control of the larger burials are usually led by the Ramapo police and the Rockland County Sheriff's Office. But due to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19), information was not immediately available as to how the burial will take place.

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