Detroit Archbishop Vigneron urges prayers for Jewish people Jan. 1, feast of Mary, Mother of God
NEW YORK (CNA) -- On Sunday, Cardinal Timothy Dolan of New York condemned the recent spate of attacks against Jewish people in New York, following a stabbing that left five people injured during a Hanukkah celebration at a rabbi’s home on Saturday night.
“The news of last night’s attack at the home of a Jewish family in Monsey, New York, is the latest in a series of sickening acts of violence against our Jewish brothers and sisters,” Cardinal Dolan said in a statement.
“Such acts must be condemned completely and without reservation as totally contrary to everything that people of faith stand for,” he added.
More than 100 people were gathered at Rabbi Chaim Rottenberg’s home in the New York suburb of Monsey to celebrate the seventh night of Hanukkah when suspect Grafton Thomas, 38, reportedly broke into the home around 10 p.m. with a knife that looked "almost like a broomstick," a witness told CNN.
Of the five people wounded in the attack, two were critically injured. One of the victims is reportedly the rabbi’s son. According to the New York Times, one of the critically injured victims suffered a skull fracture.
The suspect was arrested shortly after midnight Sunday after his car was tracked to Harlem. He was charged with five counts of attempted murder and one count of first-degree burglary. Authorities reported that Thomas has no criminal history and is believed to have acted alone.
“An attack on any individual or group because of his or her religious beliefs is an attack on us all. This hatred has no place in our city, state, or nation, or anywhere else on our planet,” Cardinal Dolan said in his statement.
“At my Sunday Mass this morning, I prayed in a special way in solidarity with the victims of these heinous acts of violence, and urge all people to come together in a spirit of unity to reject such hatred and bigotry wherever it occurs,” he said.
The Monsey stabbing is the latest in a series of antisemitic attacks throughout New York. According to CNN, at least one antisemitic attack has been reported every day this week. The incidents are being investigated as hate crimes. It also comes two weeks after two gunmen opened fire at a kosher market in Jersey City shot and killed four people on December 13.
The Monsey stabbing and other attacks have been widely condemned by community leaders and advocates for the Jewish community.
Across the United States, bishops and religious leaders decried the attacks, including Detroit Archbishop Allen H. Vigneron, who said in a message to Metro Detroit's Catholic clergy and leaders of the Michigan Board of Rabbis he felt “outrage in learning of the violent attack on a Jewish household in New York during their celebration of Hanukkah.”
Speaking on behalf of the priests and people of southeast Michigan, the archbishop said “we are particularly disturbed that this crime comes as only the latest of such vile acts of anti-Semitism in our nation.”
Archbishop Vigneron asked pastors in the Archdiocese of Detroit to offer special prayers on New Year's Day, when Catholics mark the feast of Mary, Mother of God, “for the protection of our Jewish brothers and sisters and the eradication of anti-Semitism from our society” and to “reaffirm ... that all forms of anti-Semitism are evil and have no place in our community.”
U.S. President Donald Trump urged Americans to “come together to fight, confront, and eradicate the evil scourge of antisemitism” after the stabbing, he said in a tweet on Sunday. "Melania and I wish the victims a quick and full recovery," he added.
On Sunday, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo condemned the attack as an act of “domestic terrorism.”
"They're trying to inflict fear. They're motivated by hate. They are doing mass attacks," Gov. Cuomo said. "These are terrorists in our country perpetrating terrorism on other Americans, and that's how we should treat it and that's how I want the laws in this state to treat it."
Jonathan Greenblatt, CEO of the Anti-Defamation League, said in a statement that he was “saddened, disturbed, and outraged” by the “senseless” attack on Saturday.
“We are calling for increased protection for the Jewish community now and for those in positions of power and leadership to guarantee that the full force of the law is brought down on those who perpetrate these horrific crimes.”