NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Police are investigating a hate crime against a Jewish boy in Queens, who says he was attacked because of his faith.
As CBS2’s Jessica Moore reported, it’s a tightknit community in Kew Gardens, where kids walk everywhere together — back and forth to school and friends’ houses. That’s what the victim said he was doing when he was punched in the face and called names by a complete stranger.
“I was upstairs putting my other children to sleep, and I just hear my son come in the door screaming, ‘he beat me, he beat me!’” the boy’s mother told Moore in an exclusive interview. “’What are you looking at, you Jew Boy?’ I’m not sure at what point he said that, at the beginning or the end, and he started punching him, my son said like four or five times in the face.”
Police said around 8:15 p.m. Sunday, the 14-year-old was walking on the sidewalk outside his yeshiva on 84th Avenue and 117th Street, when a man attacked him out of nowhere.
“It’s petrifying, it’s really scary,” said the boy’s classmate, Chanoch Lieberman. “It’s a little scary that he screamed ‘Jew Boy’ and then punched him.”
“It’s definitely frightening to know that there’s antisemitism so close to home,” fellow classmate Eli Sandhaus said.
Evan Bernstein, of the Anti-Defamation League, said attacks against the Jewish community are becoming all too common.
“We’re just very sad and disheartened to hear about another assault that’s taken place within the Orthodox community here in New York City,” he told Moore. “We had a video also of a young individual that was approached because of being Hasidic just a couple days ago that became viral.
“There’s an overall climate right now that a lot of Orthodox Jews are feeling that they’re being targeted, either with assaults or in other ways, and it’s something we have to get in front of.”
The ADL is now offering a $5,000 reward for information that leads to the attacker’s arrest and potential conviction.