A rabbinical student was walking down a quiet street in Brooklyn last winter, chatting on the phone with his father when three men jumped him from behind. They punched his head, knocking him to the ground before fleeing down the block.
When police officers arrested three suspects later that night, the student, a Hasidic man who asked to be identified by his first name, Mendel, learned that another Hasidic Jew had been attacked on the same block in Crown Heights just minutes before he was. Video of the earlier attack showed three men knocking a man to the ground before kicking and punching him.
The victims in both attacks were “very visibly Jewish,” said Mendel, 23, who has a beard and dresses in the kind of dark suit and hat traditionally worn by Hasidic men. That, he said, made them easier targets.
“You could ask everyone if they’re Jewish,” he continued, “or you could just go after people who you don’t have to ask any questions about because you can just see that they dress like they’re Jewish.”
More than half of the hate crimes in NYC last year targeted Jewish people, including a wave of attacks in Brooklyn. Orthodox Jews face the greatest risk of violence and harassment on the street. My latest: https://t.co/ONRXgmQPeK
— Liam Stack (@liamstack) February 17, 2020