Hero in New York Hanukkah Stabbing Attack Honored

Following the New York synagogue machete attack this past Saturday that injured five, a hero from that incident received a commendation from officials in his hometown.

In the midst the incident, which took place during a Hanukkah party held in Monsey, New York at a synagogue which is also the home of Rabbi Chaim Rottenberg, Josef Gluck threw a wooden table at the attacker to deter him. He then lured him outside, followed the man to his car and recorded his license plate number as he fled the scene, subsequently alerting the police. A suspect, Grafton Thomas, was subsequently arrested in Manhattan.

On Tuesday, Gluck was honored in Rockland County, for his bravery. Gluck was presented with the Freedom Award - the highest honor the town of Ramapo can bestow upon a civilian.

"Without his swift action," said Congresswoman Nita Lowery at an event honoring Gluck, "the even more unthinkable could have happened." She presented Gluck with a congressional certificate during the ceremony. "What an extraordinary person he is ... without Josef, we never would have caught him as quickly as we did."

"A man of courage who thought of anyone but himself," said Ramapo Town Supervisor Michael Specht. "He single-handily set himself up as a target. He lured the attacker out the house."

Gluck, 32, is a father of five who has no formal training in emergency management. "I am not usually a courageous guy, a brave man. At that minute, God pushed me and that's what I did," he said.

"I can't figure why God gave me the merit to be the guy to save this place. I didn't have any training. I just reacted on instinct," Gluck recalled.

Thomas, 37, remains in jail, where he is currently being held in federal custody on a $5 million bond. He pleaded not guilty to five counts of attempted intentional murder and burglary on December 29. He is also facing federal hate crime charges.

Five people -- Herman Frank, Nachman Indusky, Josef Neumann, Shloime Rottenberg and Joseph Weiss -- were injured in the December 28 machete attack.

Neumann, 71, remains hospitalized at press time in critical condition, with his condition reported as grave by CBS New York on Tuesday. Family said that doctors are not optimistic that Neumann will regain consciousness.

"He has been stabbed about six times in the face, neck, chest area," Yossi Gestetner, co-founder of the Orthodox Jewish Public Affairs Council. "He, at this point, is not responsive."

Hanukkah, stabbing
Members of the Jewish community gather outside the home of rabbi Chaim Rottenbergin Monsey, in New York on December 29, 2019 after a machete attack that took place earlier outside the rabbi's home during the Jewish festival of Hanukkah in Monsey, New York. KENA BETANCUR/AFP via Getty Images/Getty