Wednesday, December 10, 2014

No terrorism link seen in Jewish center stabbing 

A man with a history of mental illness slipped into the headquarters of a major Jewish organization in Brooklyn in the middle of the night Tuesday and stabbed an Israeli student in the head as he was studying in the library.

Then, as the screaming, bloody victim was taken away, the attacker lunged at police and was shot and killed, authorities said.

Calvin Peters, 49, could be seen on amateur video waving a knife in the Chabad-Lubavitch headquarters in Crown Heights at 1:40 a.m. after the attack on Levi Rosenblat. Rosenblat, wounded in the side of the head, was listed in stable condition.

Police said the stabbing was not believed to be connected to terrorism. But it shook the Jewish community, still reeling over an attack on a Jerusalem synagogue by two Palestinian cousins last month that left four worshippers and an officer dead.

"The entire Jewish community is impacted by these cruel and senseless attacks," said New York state Assemblyman Dov Hikind, whose Brooklyn constituents are largely Orthodox Jews. "How can we help but be reminded of the recent, horrible tragedy ... which left five innocent people dead?"

At least one witness said he heard Peters repeatedly saying, "Kill the Jews!," according to Rabbi Chaim Landa, a Chabad-Lubavitch spokesman.

Police still were interviewing witnesses but quoted Peters as saying instead, "I'm going to kill all of you." And the case was not immediately classified as a possible bias crime.

Chabad-Lubavitch is a large, worldwide Hasidic movement that runs schools, synagogues and other institutions and reaches out to nonobservant Jews to encourage them to embrace their heritage and religious traditions. It is active on college campuses and in cities around the globe.

The Crown Heights neighborhood, home to a large ultra-Orthodox Lubavitch community, was the site of riots between Jews and blacks in 1991 following the killing of a rabbinical student.

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