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NW metro Jewish community not intimidated by machete attack at Rabbi's home in New York

Posted at 11:28 PM, Dec 29, 2019
and last updated 2019-12-30 13:34:05-05

WESTMINSTER, Colo. -- Members of the Chabad of Northwest Metro Denver say they may be unnerved, but they are not intimidated, by the attack at a Rabbi's house in suburban New York City.

Five members of an Hasidic Jewish congregation were stabbed by a man wielding a machete, who barged into a Hanukkah celebration at the Rabbi's home in Monsey, New York and attacked the victims at random.

"Thankfully, no one was murdered," said Rabbi Bengy Brackman, the head of the NW Metro Chabad.

The faithful gathered Sunday night, at Orchard Town Center in Westminster, to light the menorah on the eight night of Hanukkah.

"We are here tonight to respond in our own way by showing that we will not be cowed," Brackman said. "We will come out and light the menorah in public, and if this was meant to intimidate us, we won't be intimidated."

The Jewish community honored Westminster police for their protection against growing anti-Semitism in Colorado.

Just this year, a man was arrested in a plot to bomb a synagogue in Pueblo.

In Boulder, men dressed in traditional Jewish garb were seen passing out fliers denying the Holocaust.

Two years ago, in Westminster, someone scrawled swastikas in freshly poured concrete. The fire department removed them.

Westminster Police Chief Tim Carlson was asked to help light the shammash (middle lamp) on the menorah, along with Sarah Ridgeway, who is the mother of Jessica Ridgeway, a young girl who was murdered in 2012.

"When I light the middle candle, I think of all the ones we've lost," Ridgeway said. "Jessica for one, and any family members and friends and their family members that have passed."

Ridgeway told Denver7 that "it's awesome to see everybody remember a little girl that meant the world to me, but at that time... wasn't known to many people."

Several parents brought their children to the menorah celebration.

Amy Hinton said she and her husband bring their children to the menorah lighting to celebrate the miracle of Hanukkah, and to teach them how the oil lasted for eight days.

She too said she was saddened and upset by what happened at the Rabbi's house in New York.

Her eyes welled as she described her emotion.

"Our people keep having to fight back and I just want peace," she said.

Hinton added that when people learn about other religions, ignorance disappears and "that's where there is peace."

According to the Anti-Defamation League's "Heat Map," there have been 88 anti-Semitic incidents in Colorado from 2018 to 2019.

Those incident range from harassment and vandalism to a plot to bomb a synagogue in Pueblo.