Suffolk County District Attorney Rachael Rollins said she's launched a civil rights investigation into the attack on a rabbi in Brighton.
Rabbi Shlomo Noginski was stabbed eight times Thursday afternoon by a man outside Shaloh House, a Jewish day school, and is recovering at home after spending time in the hospital.
The suspect in the stabbing, 24-year-old Khaled Awad, of Brighton, was arraigned Friday and is being held without bail as he awaits a dangerousness hearing. Boston police said Awad was charged with assault and battery by means of a dangerous weapon and assault and battery on an officer. Police said he was carrying a gun in addition to the knife allegedly used in the attack.
At a community vigil in Brighton Friday morning where the attack allegedly took place, Rollins said anyone responsible for hate-based crime must be held responsible.
"It's important that we recognize with respect to the Jewish community that not only globally, but locally, they are being terrorized and hate crime is on the rise," Rollins said.
She added that the civil rights units for her department and Boston police are investigating. Boston police said Noginski was stabbed in the area of Chestnut Hill Avenue and Washington Street.
"At a time of rising violence and anti-Semitism across this country, no Jew, no building, no part of our community, no neighborhood will stand alone."Jeremy Burton, executive director of the Jewish Community Relations Council of Boston
Benny Bark, a 12-year-old who lives a few blocks away and who said he's best friends with one of Noginski's 12 children, feels "haunted by what happened."
"I thought it was a nightmare," Bark said. "I felt like crying. He's a great rabbi. I feel a little less safe. If something happens like that, I think you need to learn how to fight back. And what [Noginski] did, he's considered a hero."
During the vigil, several speakers said Noginski was confronted by Awad near the school's steps and that the rabbi guided the fight away from the school.
"My younger brother was in that school — a room right next to those stairs," Bark said. "And [Awad] had a gun. He could've come in and start shooting kids. But [Noginski] is a hero. He was willing to get to stabbed instead of getting kids hurt. It just feels very scary to me."
Shaloh House Jewish Day School, Combined Jewish Philanthropies, the Jewish Community Relations Council of Boston and the Anti-Defamation League convened Friday's vigil.
Jeremy Burton, executive director of the Jewish Community Relations Council of Boston, said he had a clear message to express: "The Jewish community is angry. And the Jewish community is united."
"At a time of rising violence and anti-Semitism across this country, no Jew, no building, no part of our community, no neighborhood will stand alone," Burton said. "And we expect — we demand — that we have the right to live, to walk in the streets, to be visible or not visible as Jews, to gather together, to celebrate and to live our lives as Jews fully, with joy and without fear."
Acting Boston Mayor Kim Janey said the attack has left the community shaken and searching for answers.
"This is Fourth of July weekend, the weekend that we celebrate independence in America, the weekend that we celebrate freedom," Janey said. "We all deserve the opportunity to live freely. And certainly that is true of our Jewish brothers and sisters."
Gov. Charlie Baker on Friday offered well wishes to Noginski on Twitter.
"There is no place for hate in Massachusetts," he said, "and we will always stand with our neighbors in the Jewish community in condemning every act of anti-Semitic violence."
While the attack hasn't been legally labeled as a hate crime, Friday morning's vigil attendees and speakers were adamant that only a person who harbors hate can carry out such inhumanity.
"This was an act of hate, of darkness," said Shira Goodman, with Combined Jewish Philanthropies of Greater Boston. "We will continue to live Jewish lives. We're going to continue to pray at our synagogues, to attend our schools ... and double down on social justice for all. That is light and that is love."
With reporting from WBUR's Jonathan Cain
This article was originally published on July 02, 2021.
This segment aired on July 2, 2021.