(Warning: many readers may find the below image to be disturbing.)
The family of an Orthodox Jewish man who was severely injured during a machete attack in Monsey, N.Y., on Saturday says that doctors fear he may never wake up.
Josef Neumann, 72, was among five people injured when a man brandishing a machete broke into a Hanukkah party at a rabbi’s home on Saturday. Neumann’s daughter, Nicky Kohen, told reporters on Thursday that physicians say that her father is unlikely to fully recover from multiple severe injuries.
Standing beside several of her seven siblings, Kohen said that Neumann is still unconscious after suffering a skull fracture, a cut through his neck and a shattered arm during the attack. She said the family decided to release a photo of their father after the attack so people could understand how serious his injuries — and the severity of the attack — was.
“We started realizing people did not understand the severity of this attack,” Kohen said. “When people ask, is he awake yet? Is he talking to you guys, and all I want to do is yell Do you realize the prognosis is right now is he really may never, ever speak again? Or wake up, or walk?… we did decide to release that photo, after much thought, so people that can realize how severe this attack was.”
The family released the following image of Neumann on Wednesday.
Kohen said that Neumann is currently undergoing surgery to insert a tracheostomy (trach) tube, a device doctors place into a patient’s windpipe, or trachea, to help them breathe.
Prosecutors have charged the suspect, Grafton E. Thomas, with five counts of obstructing the free exercise of religious beliefs by attempting to kill with a dangerous weapon and causing injuries for the attack. In a federal criminal complaint, an FBI investigator said that Thomas had expressed ant-Semitic sentiments in a journal found in his home.
The attack has added to concerns about an increase in anti-Semitic violence in recent weeks. In December, a pair of gunman shot and killed four people in an attack that allegedly targeted a Jewish grocery store in Jersey City, N.J. Last week, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio announced that he was increasing the police presence in three neighborhoods with many Jewish residents.
Kohen urged people listening to her message to stand up against hatred in its various forms. “We want our kids to go to school and face, we want to go to our synagogues and feel safe, we want to go to our groceries and malls and feel safe,” she said.
Kohen said that the family hopes that reporters will focus on her father and the other victims, instead of the suspect, in order to avoid encouraging other attacks.
“People are looking for glory and the fame, and we do not want copycats,” said Kohen. “We do not want anybody else to think they can go out and be on TV or have any type of publicity this way.”