December 30, 2019
Five people were injured Saturday night when a man armed with what appeared to be a machete burst into a rabbi’s home in a New York City suburb and began slashing at people attending a Hanukkah celebration, authorities said.
5 People Injured In Stabbing Attack In NY Rabbis Home During Hanukkah Celebration
The man, wearing a scarf over his face, chased victims as they ran from the scene in Monsey in Rockland County north of Manhattan, then fled in a car, CBS News reported. He was captured by New York City police around midnight in the 32nd Precinct in Harlem, said Ramapo Police Chief Brad Weidel.
The suspect, identified as 37-year-old Grafton E. Thomas, of Greenwood Lake, New York, will face five counts of attempted murder and one count of burglary, Weidel said.He was arraigned Sunday morning and pleaded not guilty to the charges. Bail was set at $5 million.
Five victims, all of them identified as Hasidic Jews, were rushed to local hospitals; two of them were in critical condition, according to the Orthodox Jewish Public Affairs Council. One victim was stabbed at least six times, according to the council. 
“The house had many dozens of people in there” at the time of the attack, Yossi Gestetner, the council’s co-founder, told The New York Times.  
Gestetner said the rabbi’s son was one of the victims.Aron Kohn, who told The Times he was inside the home during the attack, said the weapon was about the size of a broomstick.
“I was praying for my life,” the 65-year-old told the paper. “He started attacking people right away as soon as he came in the door. We didn’t have time to react at all.”
Josef Gluck, who was also inside the home, told The Associated Press that he hit the assailant with a coffee table during the attack.
“The guy came in wielding a big knife, sword, machete — I don’t know what it was,” he said of the weapon. “He took it out of his holder, started swinging.”
Levy Kraus told the AP that he saw a large man enter the rabbi’s home with a covered object. 
“He had something in his hand. It looked like an umbrella. It was covered,” the 15-year-old said. He also said he saw the man running from the house, screaming “I’ll get you.”US: Clip, Several Orthodox Jews stabbed in Monsey, NY, injuries reported, emergency personnel responding, motive unknown at this time pic.twitter.com/dsO786jPlT— Yiddish News (@YiddishNews) December 29, 2019The motive for the attack remains unknown. But New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D), who visited the rabbi’s home on Sunday morning, called the attack an “act of domestic terrorism.”
“This is intolerance meets ignorance meets illegality,” he told reporters. “This is an intolerant time in this country. We see anger, we see hatred exploding. It is an American cancer in the body politic.”
Cuomo noted that Saturday’s attack was the 13th anti-Semitic incident to plague New York state in the past few weeks.Cuomo speaking after the mass stabbing at Hanukkah celebration: "This is intolerance meets ignorance meets illegality." pic.twitter.com/M3vZfsHdz6— Brian Stelter (@brianstelter) December 29, 2019At least six suspected anti-Semitic attacks had occurred in New York City in the last week alone. Police patrols were being boosted in three Brooklyn neighborhoods in response.
The counterterrorism unit of the New York City Police Department was monitoring the situation in Monsey, a community with a large population of ultra-Orthodox Jews. Last month, a teacher and father of four in Monsey was critically injured when he was stabbed on his way to synagogue.The attack Saturday occurred in the home of Rabbi Chaim Rottenberg, who heads Congregation Netzach Yisroel next door to his house, according to the Rockland/Westchester Journal.
After the attack, the rabbi continued with his weekly Sabbath closure ceremonies, joining his congregants in declaring gratitude for the lives saved, Congregation Secretary Naftali Silberberg said in a statement Sunday to CBS.
“I thank the Hashem for the open miracles we saw last night,” Rottenberg said in the same statement. “Though we must all take the precautions that have unfortunately become basic security necessities – locking our shul and school doors and having an emergency preparedness plan – we will forge forward in faith and thanks that we continue to live under G-d’s ultimate protection.”
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio vowed in a statement: “We will NOT allow this to become the new normal. We’ll use every tool we have to stop these attacks once and for all.”We will NOT allow this to become the new normal. We’ll use every tool we have to stop these attacks once and for all. The NYPD has deployed a visible and growing presence around Jewish houses of worship on the streets in communities like Williamsburg, Crown Heights and Boro Park.— Mayor Bill de Blasio (@NYCMayor) December 29, 2019New York Attorney General Letitia James said in a statement that she was “deeply disturbed” by the attack. “There is zero tolerance for acts of hate of any kind, and we will continue to monitor this horrific situation. I stand with the Jewish community tonight and every night.”I am deeply disturbed by the situation unfolding in Monsey, New York tonight. There is zero tolerance for acts of hate of any kind and we will continue to monitor this horrific situation. I stand with the Jewish community tonight and every night.— NY AG James (@NewYorkStateAG) December 29, 2019Other current and former area representatives tweeted their outrage over the violence. Manhattan City Councilmember Mark Levine called the attack amid a frightening increase in anti-Semitic violence a “full blown crisis.”There have been NINE anti-Semitic attacks in NYC in the past week.And now this horror tonight just outside the city, in Monsey.This is a full blown crisis. None of what we are doing is good enough.https://t.co/VXFnUSW694— Mark D. Levine (@MarkLevineNYC) December 29, 2019This is a developing story. Multiple stabbing victims in Monsey, Jews targeted AGAIN.An attack on one Jew, is an attack on all Jews. We are in route to the scene to be there to stand with the community and to do whatever we can to be of assistance https://t.co/tGlQRTo8Oz— Dov Hikind (@HikindDov) December 29, 2019Heartbreaking news out of Monsey, New York tonight. My thoughts are with the Jewish community as they cope with what appears to be another hateful attack on their humanity during Hanukkah. We must combat the rise of anti-Semitism and hate. https://t.co/GhReByrk4w— Julián Castro (@JulianCastro) December 29, 2019Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu also condemned the recent displays of anti-Semitism, adding that Israel “will cooperate however possible with the local authorities in order to assist in defeating this phenomenon.”
President Donald Trump, in a statement Sunday afternoon, decried the attack as “horrific” while similarly condemning anti-Semitism.
“We must all come together to fight, confront, and eradicate the evil scourge of anti-Semitism. Melania and I wish the victims a quick and full recovery,” he tweeted.
Trump’s daughter Ivanka Trump released her own statement on Twitter earlier that morning that criticised the local government’s and national media’s responses to the violence, accusing both of not doing enough.
The Orthodox Jewish Public Affairs Council said early Sunday that people had continued their celebrations in the synagogue located next to Rottenberg’s home following Saturday’s stabbing attack.
Footage of the gathering shared on Twitter shows congregants clapping and singing. “‘The grace of God did not end and his mercy did not leave us,’ is a rough translation of the lyrics,” the council said of the clip.  VIDEO: Right after the #Monsey stabbing, the Rabbi and his followers gathered in the synagogue next door to his home (where the attack took place), and continued the celebrations. "The grace of God did not end and his mercy did not leave us," is a rough translation of the lyrics. pic.twitter.com/fRPP7kVypP— OJPAC Hudson Valley Region (@OJPACHV) December 29, 2019Related... Anti-Semitic Graffiti Scrawled On London Synagogue And Shops During Hanukkah It's Been A Disgraceful Year Of Racism In Football
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Star Wars Director Says It's About Time A Woman Makes A Star Wars Movie
Jan 02, 2024
Oscar-winning documentary filmmaker Sharmeed Obaid-Chinoy is directing an upcoming Star Wars movie that brings back Daisy Ridley in the role of Rey. Obaid-Chinoy will become the first woman to direct a Star Wars film, dating back to the franchise's origins in the 1970s. Speaking about this, Obaid-Chinoy told CNN that she is "very thrilled" to make the movie and create something that is "very special.""We're in 2024 now, and I think it's about time we had a woman come forward to shape the story in a galaxy far, far away," she said.Obaid-Chinoy won Best Documentary, Short Subjects Academy Awards for Saving Face (2012) and A Girl in the River: The Price of Forgiveness (2015).In 2020, Lucasfilm boss Kathleen Kennedy told the BBC that a woman would eventually direct a Star Wars movie, saying that would "absolutely" happen, "without question." Victoria Mahoney was a second unit director on The Rise of Skywalker, but a woman has never claimed a top directing credit on a Star Wars movie.On the TV side of things, The Mandalorian has featured a number of female directors, including Deborah Chow and Bryce Dallas Howard. Chow went on to direct the Obi-Wan TV series, too.Another high-profile franchise that has never had a female director is James Bond. Producer Barbara Broccoli and Skyfall director Sam Mendes have both said they want to see a woman direct a future 007 film.As for Obaid-Chinoy's Star Wars movie, little is known about it apart from the fact that Ridley will come back to play Rey. It is expected that this film will be the first of the three new Star Wars films to come to theaters, possibly releasing in December 2025.According to a report, Peaky Blinders creator Steven Knight is writing the Rey movie, taking over for Damon Lindelof and Justin Britt-Gibson.
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NBA Names Clare Akamanzi CEO Of NBA Africa
Jan 02, 2024 15:29
The NBA named Clare Akamanzi – an accomplished business executive and international trade and investment lawyer – as CEO of NBA Africa. Akamanzi will start her position on Jan. 23, 2024, and report to NBA Deputy Commissioner and Chief Operating Officer Mark Tatum. In this role, Akamanzi will oversee the NBA’s business and basketball development efforts in Africa and will be responsible for continuing to grow the popularity of basketball, the NBA and the Basketball Africa League (BAL) across the continent, including through grassroots basketball development, media distribution, corporate partnerships, and social responsibility initiatives that improve the livelihoods of African youth and families. For the last six and a half years, Akamanzi was CEO of Rwanda Development Board (RDB), where she spearheaded Rwanda’s economic development by enabling private sector growth. Under Akamanzi’s leadership, RDB implemented several business policy reforms and initiatives that led to significant investment and development for the country, including through partnerships with the BAL, Arsenal FC, Paris Saint-Germain FC, FC Bayern Munich and TIME Magazine, among others. “Clare’s business acumen, international experience and familiarity with basketball and the NBA make her the ideal executive to lead our business in Africa,” says Tatum. “NBA Africa and the Basketball Africa League are well-positioned for continued growth, and under Clare’s leadership we believe these initiatives will transform economies, communities and lives across the continent.” “I’ve seen firsthand how sports can positively impact businesses, families and communities in Africa, and the NBA and the BAL are a perfect example of that,” says Akamanzi. “The NBA has done an incredible job growing basketball and the economy around it across the continent, and I’m excited about the enormous opportunities ahead to build on that momentum.” Previously, Akamanzi was Chief Operating Officer of RDB and Head of Strategy and Policy Unit, Office of the President of the Republic of Rwanda. She has extensive international trade, business and diplomatic experience, having previously worked for the Rwandan Government at the World Trade Organization in Geneva, Switzerland and at the Rwandan Embassy in London, England. Akamanzi has worked or studied in seven different countries and holds an honorary LLD from Concordia University in Montreal, Canada, in recognition of her work in Rwanda. She earned a master’s degree in public administration from Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government in Cambridge, Massachusetts, where she was the recipient of three prestigious awards for academic excellence and distinguished contribution to the community: the Lucius N. Littauer Fellows Award, the Raymond & Josephine Vernon Award and the Robert Kennedy Public Service Award. In addition, Akamanzi holds a Master of Laws degree in international trade and investments from the University of Pretoria in South Africa, and a Bachelor of Laws degree from Makerere University in Kampala, Uganda. Akamanzi has served on several company boards, including the World Health Organization (WHO) Foundation, ECOBANK and Aviation, Travel and Logistics (ATL) company. She was recognized by Forbes as one of Africa’s Top 50 Powerful Women in 2020.
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