Hasidic man punched from behind in possible hate crime in Brooklyn: NYPD

WILLIAMSBURG, Brooklyn — During one of the most celebrated times of year for Jewish people, there's been a persistent threat against their community stemming from hate. In less than one week, there have been at least four anti-Semitic attacks in the city, three of them happening in Brooklyn.

The latest incident, which was caught on camera, happened Friday at about 6:40 p.m. on Throop Avenue in Williamsburg. A 33-year-old Hasidic man leaving a Brooklyn synagogue with his young son was punched in the back of his head in what police are calling a possible hate crime.

The incident comes just a week after a 9-year-old Jewish boy broke his nose after he was punched in the face also on Throop Avenue in another unprovoked attack. The attacker has yet to be caught.

The ADL says the city has seen a rise in hate crimes since the Pittsburgh synagogue mass shooting that killed 11 in October. Just this year, the city has investigated 13 anti-Semitic attacks, compared to 4 in 2017.

Just last week, Columbia University Professor Elizabeth Midlarsky was targeted with anti-Semitic graffiti in her teachers college office.

"We've seen numerous, numerous anti-Semitic vandalism acts that have taken place here in New York," Evan Bernstein, from the ADL, said. "We've already seen more assaults in New York this year than we have last year."

Police are now looking for a man described to be between 30 to 35-years-old, 5 feet, 10 inches and about 250 pounds in regards to Friday's incident. He was last seen wearing a gray hooded sweater and dark colored jeans.

"I think it's important that we don't let this stuff become normalized and we've seen, especially elected officials I think, letting you know swastikas and other anti-Semitic harassment and vandalism become normalized,"  Evan Bernstein, from the ADL, said. "Before we would see them speaking out loudly and very prominently. And I think there's been so many... it's harder for them to do that because of the regularity... but we can't let it become normalized."

Submit tips to police by calling Crime Stoppers at 1-800-577-TIPS (8477), visiting www.nypdcrimestoppers.com, or texting 274637 (CRIMES) then entering TIP577. Spanish-speaking callers are asked to dial 1-888-57-PISTA (74782).