Local faith-based community leaders react to anti-Semitic attack in New York

The shock of what happened in Monsey, New York is rippling across the country, and of course, affecting those in Jewish community of Phoenix.

Religious leaders in the community say security is the top priority for places of worship, but these latest attacks are not putting fear in the people of the Jewish community, instead, it's keeping them united. 

"It's unbelievable. It's unfathomable. It's disgraceful," says Marty Haberer, president of the Jewish Federation of Greater Phoenix. 

A man is behind bars after law enforcement says Grafton Thomas stabbed five people celebrating Hanukkah in a rabbi's New York home. The state's governor, Andrew Cuomo, says this is the 13th anti-Semitic attack in just three weeks.

Haberer grew up in the very area where police are now investigating the hate crime. His grandparents and their children escaped Germany less than a year before the holocaust.

On the eighth and final night of Hanukkah, Haberer along with other Jewish community leaders, condemn the latest string of attacks. "The fact that in such a short time, just eight decades later, that that's being forgotten, and this kind of hate is rearing itself again, is unbelievable," he said.

The federation continues to work with law enforcement and security partners to stay vigilant.

"We've invested hundreds of thousands of dollars here in Phoenix to make sure that our facilities are more secured and we are prepared," Haberer said.

Larry Schultz is the executive director of Arizona Interfaith Movement, an organization bringing members of around 25 different faiths together.

He wants to see hate crimes prosecuted more aggressively, he said. "One of the members of our faith are attacked we're all attacked," He said.

Adding, "Anytime that a faith community is attacked, you have to face that it's a hate crime. This man went into a rabbi's home knowing Hannukah was being celebrated that evening."

According to the Anti-Defamation League, anti-Semitic attacks in Arizona are down from 32 in 2018, to 15 in 2019.

The suspect in the latest attack is being held on a $5 million bond and facing five charges of attempted murder.