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Austrian Rabbi Attacked After Chanukah Menorah Lighting

Austrian Rabbi Attacked After Chanukah Menorah Lighting

Austrian Rabbi Dov Gruzman, left, who was attacked Saturday night, gave former U.S. Ambassador Ronald S. Lauder a tour of the high school bearing his name last year.
Austrian Rabbi Dov Gruzman, left, who was attacked Saturday night, gave former U.S. Ambassador Ronald S. Lauder a tour of the high school bearing his name last year.

Moments after presiding over a public Chanukah menorah lighting in Vienna’s Stephansplatz Square Saturday night, Chabad-Lubavitch Rabbi Dov Gruzman was evacuated by ambulance when a man appeared out of the crowd and attacked him, biting the rabbi’s finger.

Gruzman, who serves as principal of the Lauder Chabad High School in the Austrian capital, underwent a partial amputation of his finger and is expected to remain in the hospital for two more days.

According to Rabbi Jacob Biderman, chairman of Agudas Chasidei Chabad of Austria, Gruzman had just finished assisting Israeli Ambassador Aviv Shir-On in lighting the city’s central menorah before a crowd of more than 1,000 people when the assailant attacked. After the assault, Gruzman asked that the ceremony continue.

In light of his wishes, “we did,” said Biderman. “Now, his family is at his bedside. They are very strong.”

News reports identified the suspected attacker, who was taken into custody, as Muslim. An apparent motive has not been announced.

Biderman said that on Monday, students from the high school – which is named after former U.S. ambassador and current World Jewish Congress president Ronald S. Lauder – will visit Gruzman in the hospital. Public menorah lightings in the city will have increased security following the attack, he added.

Biderman asserted that whatever the attacker’s intentions, the local community has rallied around Gruzman and that events during the rest of Chanukah will have increased attendance “as a sign of solidarity.”

“When we’re being challenged,” said Biderman, drawing on the story of Chanukah, “the proper response is to increase the light in the world.”

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Discussion (5)
April 10, 2011
Get Well Wishes
Praying for your recover!
FATHERde'Solace D.D. PsyD. SSV Bp. SCM
Chicago, IL
December 17, 2009
They do not the reason for the attack?
How about Antisemitis? Dah
December 17, 2009
A prompt recovery
This is terrible what happened... I am speechless.

I hope the rabbi recovers uneventfully...
Gemonde, Netherlands
December 15, 2009
Reposted story
Folks, I have posted this article on the blog page of The Armed Juwish Federations web site .
May the Rabbi have a full recovery and Happy Chanukeh.
Ben Johnson
Waco, Texas USA
December 14, 2009
Speedy recovery
Speedy recovery and a happy Chanukeh.
Baltimore, MD
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