MONSEY, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) – Ten days have passed since the terrifying attack inside Rabbi Chaim Rottenberg’s home that left five people injured, including 72-year-old Josef Neumann, who remains in grave condition.
“Our community is still reeling in the aftermath of the horrifying Chanukah attack and the subsequent trauma,” said Rottenberg.
Wednesday is the first time Rabbi Rottenberg has spoken publicly since suspect Grafton Thomas allegedly forced his way into the home, stabbing guests with a machete, reports CBS2’s Hazel Sanchez.
“This horrifying event is a divine call for soul searching rather than finger-pointing and accusations,” said Rottenberg. “Let us reflect on how we can eradicate evil from its source.”
The rabbi expressed gratitude to Gov. Andrew Cuomo who called for extra security in the heavily Orthodox community. The governor personally invited Rottenberg to give the blessing before the State of the State address in Albany.
“I speak for all the people of the state of New York when I tell you we stand in solidarity and love with you and your community,” Cuomo said. “What happened to you and your community is intolerable. We will not stand for it and we will defend you.”
“The overwhelming and ongoing support from the governor and all elected officials across the spectrum has been so monumental, we felt the time has come where I must make a public statement to express our thanks and our thoughts,” said Rottenberg.
WEB EXTRA – Rabbi Chaim Rottenberg Speaks After Monsey Synagogue Attack In December:
“Our diversity is what makes our country so great,” he said. “We cannot allow seeds of hatred to destroy that.”
There is a state trooper outside the synagogue next to the rabbi’s home, as well as private security. Religious leaders say the synagogue is looking into applying for federal grants to increase their security long term.