Incident Summary:

12/28/2019: An assailant, armed with a machete, attacked the residence of a rabbi, Chaim Rottenberg, while he and his guests were celebrating the seventh night of Hanukkah in Monsey, New York, United States. Five people were injured in the attack, and one victim died of his injuries on March 29, 2020. Grafton E. Thomas was arrested in connection to the attack and authorities discovered in his journal that he had referenced Hitler, "Nazi culture," and stated that "Hebrew Israelites" had taken from "powerful ppl (ebinoid Israelites)." He had also searched online for "why did Hitler hate the Jews," "prominent companies founded by Jews in America" and "German Jewish Temples near me."



United States

North America

region/u.s. state:

New York


Attack Information
Type of Attack (more) Armed Assault
Successful Attack? (more) Yes
Target Information (more)
Target Type: Private Citizens & Property
Name of Entity Not Applicable
Specific Description Residence of Rabbi: Chaim Rottenberg
Nationality of Target United States
Additional Information
Hostages No
Ransom No
Property Damage No
Weapon Information
Type Sub-type
Melee Knife or Other Sharp Object
Weapon Details
A 18-inch machete was used in the attack.
Additional Information
Suicide Attack?No
Part of Multiple Incident?No
Criterion 1 (more) Yes
Criterion 2 (more) Yes
Criterion 3 (more) Yes
Doubt Terrorism Proper (more) Yes
Alternate Designation (more) Lack of Intentionality
Additional Information There is doubt that this incident meets terrorism related criteria. Sources noted that the perpetrator had a history of mental illness, including psychoses that led to his hearing voices.
Perpetrator Group Information
Group Name Claimed Responsibility
Anti-Semitic extremists No
Perpetrator Statistics
Number of Perpetrators 1
Number of Captured Perpetrators 1
Casualty Information
Total Number of Casualties 1 Fatalities / 4 Injured
Total Number of Fatalities 1
Number of U.S. Fatalities 1
Number of Perpetrator Fatalities 0
Total Number of Injured 4
Number of U.S. Injured 4
Number of Perpetrators Injured 0
"N.Y. man, Josef Neumann, dies 3 months after hate crime-related machete attack," UPI, March 30, 2020.
"Hanukkah stabbing suspect charged with federal hate crimes,", December 30, 2019.
"Suspect in custody after 5 stabbed at rabbi’s home in New York, officials say," Washington Post, December 29, 2019.