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Man injured in New York Hanukkah stabbing spree might never regain consciousness, family says

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Posted at 11:37 AM, Jan 01, 2020
and last updated 2020-01-01 14:37:05-05

MONSEY, N.Y. — A 71-year-old man critically injured in Saturday's stabbing attack at a rabbi's home north of New York City might never fully recover, his family said Tuesday.

Josef Neumann was one of five people hospitalized after a man used a large blade in a stabbing rampage in the Monsey home as hundreds gathered for a Hanukkah celebration.

According to a statement from Neumann's family, released by the Orthodox Jewish Public Affairs Council, "doctors are not optimistic about his chances to regain consciousness."

According to the statement, the blade penetrated Neumann's skull directly into his brain, on top of other lacerations from the stabbings and a shattered arm.

"Our father's status is so dire that no surgery as yet been performed on his arm," the family said.

Even if Neumann does recover partially, "doctors expect that he will have permanent damage to the brain; leaving him partially paralyzed and speech-impaired for the rest of his life," according to the statement.

The family said Neumann has seven children, many grandchildren, a great-grandchild, as well as brothers and sisters.

The statement concludes with the family asking Jewish people across the country and world to share their own experiences with anti-Semitism on social media using the hashtag #MeJew.

"We shall not let this terrible hate-driven attack be forgotten, and let us all work to eradicate all sorts of hate," Neumann's family said.

Suspected attacker Grafton Thomas was hit with federal hate crime charges Monday, just a day after he pleaded not guilty to attempted murder charges filed locally.

Thomas' family and attorney said this week that the Orange County man, who lives with his mother, has a "long history of mental illness," and that he had no history of similar violent acts and no prior convictions.

Warning: Some readers may find the photo of the victim below disturbing.

This story was originally published by Mark Sundstrom on WPIX in New York.