Hanukkah attack victim faces paralysis, brain damage - family
New York - A Jewish man hacked by a machete-swinging anti-Semite may be brain-damaged and paralyzed for life if he ever regains consciousness, his family said Wednesday.
Josef Neumann, patriarch to a family of seven children, many grandkids and one great-grandchild, "was severely stabbed multiple times during the mass attack," read the three-paragraph statement. "The knife penetrated his skull directly into his brain. He also suffered three cuts to the head, one cut to the neck, and his right arm is shattered."
The victim remained unresponsive Wednesday as his family hopes against hope for some good news that now appears to be a longshot. At this point, doctors "are not optimistic about his chances to regain consciousness," the statement said. "Our father's status is so dire that no surgery has yet been performed on his right arm."
Neumann was one of five victims wounded when suspect Grafton Thomas, his face obscured by a scarf and his hand clutching an 18-inch blade, burst into a Hanukkah celebration in Monsey, New York, on Saturday, authorities said.
A hospital photo of Neumann showed two thick ridges of sutures rising from his skull as a ventilator keeps the man alive. Irreversible brain damage, with partial paralysis and speech impairment for the rest of his life, appears to be the best possible outcome for Neumann, the family said.
Thomas, 37, of Greenwood Lake, New York, spent New Year's Day behind bars on 5 million dollars bail for the hate crime inside a rabbi's home where families were gathered for the seventh day of Hanukkah.
"No one is leaving," he told the terrified celebrants inside Rabbi Chaim Rottenberg's home before the carnage began.
Another of the victims lost a finger to the machete before heroic Hasid Joseph Gluck drove Thomas out of the home by flinging a coffee table at him. Thomas fled and was arrested about two hours later in Harlem.
Authorities recovered an anti-Semitic journal at the suspect's home following the horrifying attack. The Neumann family, in the wake of a recent spate of attacks targeting Jews, encouraged victims from around the world to go public with their stories of hate crimes.
"Please share on social media (your) own experiences with anti-Semitism and add the hashtag #MeJew," the family wrote. "We shall not let this terrible hate-driven attack be forgotten, and let us all work to eradicate all sorts of hate."