A German rabbi is in stable condition after being stabbed in what German police are investigating as a possible hate crime.

According to reports, Rabbi Zalman Gurevitch, co-director of Chabad-Lubavitch of Frankfurt, was walking home from Shabbat services Friday night when an Arab-looking man and two women approached just blocks from his home. The man shouted what the rabbi took as a slur, and when Gurevitch got closer the man lunged at the rabbi with a knife and said something in German to the effect of "I'm going to kill you right now."

Wounded in the stomach, Gurevitch yelled for help as the man and his companions ran away. Two people who were accompanying the rabbi carried him home, where his wife, Chana Sheina Goldah Gurevitch, called for an ambulance. At the hospital, an emergency operation was able to stem the blood loss.

German police guarded the rabbi's hospital room throughout the night.

Community members spent most of Shabbat reciting Psalms at the hospital and praying for Gurevitch's speedy recovery.

On Sunday, as German media circulated accounts of the apparent anti-Semitic attack, Jewish community leaders and German politicians offered condolences to Gurevitch and decried the violence.

Deidre Berger, director of the Berlin office of the American Jewish Committee, wrote Rabbi Yehuda Tiechtel, co-director of Chabad-Lubavitch of Berlin, expressing shock that the attack occurred less than a week after the gala opening of a new Chabad center in Berlin.

"I know that you will not let such an attack deter your plans to create a strong Chabad presence in Germany," wrote Berger. "I wish you continued strength in your mission to spread the spirit of Judaism in a country where it was once nearly extinguished."

Roland Koch, governor of the German state of Hesse, was quoted by the Associated Press as deploring the stabbing as "a perfidious deed that we can only view with horror and indignation, and most strongly condemn."